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VOL. Ill 








VOL. Ill 




THE next, and concluding volume of the 
Heimskringla will contain the life of the 
author ; an account of his sources ; notes 
on each saga ; genealogies ; series of kings and 
other rulers ; indexes of things, places, persons, 
nicknames. No time will be lost in bringing 
this somewhat laborious work to a speedy con- 







EYSTEIN, AND OLAF ..... 247-310 

GILLI . . 313-344 

BRETHREN ....... 347-396 








MAGNUS, the son of Olaf, set on foot his 
journey after Yule from the east from 
Holmgarth down to Aldeigia-burg ; and 
they fell to arraying their ships as soon as the ice 
broke up in the spring. Thereof Arnor the earls' 
skald maketh mention in Magnus-drapa : 

Now know I that the reddener 
Of the edge of fight-keen Hneitir 
Ruled men ; although wealth-breakers 
Tell nought, full well I wot it, 
Bold worm-seat's hater was not 
Eleven winters wholly, 
When he, the Herds' friend, bravely 
Decked warships out from Garthrealm. 

King Magnus made for Sweden from the east 
in the spring. So sayeth Arnor : 

Bade now the young edge-reddener 
The folk unto the war-thing : 
O eagles' feeder, aboard bore 
Their war-gear nimble courtmen. 

4 The Saga Library. I 

The bold folk-king the brine shore 
With hoar hull from the eastward. 
Sharp weathers bore to Sigtun 
The shearer of the surf-flame. 

Here it is said how King Magnus, whenas he 
fared from the east from Garthrealm, sailed first to 
Sweden and then up to Sigtun. Then was king 
in Sweden Emund, son of Olaf ; there too was 
Queen Astrid, whom the holy King Olaf had had 
to wife ; she gave right good welcome to Magnus 
her stepson, and let straightway summon a thronged 
Thing at the place called Hangrar. But at that 
Thing Astrid spake and said : " Here is now come 
among us the son of the holy King Olaf, who is 
hight Magnus. He is minded for faring to Nor- 
way to seek his heritage. Mickle am I bound to 
strengthen him for this journey, for that he is my 
stepson, even as is known to all folk, both Swedes 
and Northmen. Hereto shall I spare nought that 
my havings may compass, so that his might be as 
great as may be, both of men-hosts whereover I have 
rule, and of wealth withal ; moreover, all those who 
betake them to the faring with him shall have freely 
my full friendship. I will also make it known, 
that I shall betake myself to the faring with him, 
and thereby it will be manifest to all that I spare 
nowise other things for his helping, of such as I 
may give him." 

Sithence she spoke long and deftly ; but when 
she made an end, then answered a many, and said 
thus : that the Swedes had fared a faring of but 
little fame to Norway, when they followed his father 
Olaf, " nor is there aught better to look for 

I The Story of Magnus the Good. 5 

whereas this king is," said they; "and for that 
reason men are uneager for this faring." 

Astrid answers : " All those men who are some- 
what of stout hearts will begrudge nought about 
such matters. But if men have lost their kinsmen 
with the holy King Olaf, or have gotten wounds 
themselves, then is that manliness to fare now to 
Norway and avenge it." And so Astrid brought 
it about by her words and helpfulness, that much 
folk betook them with Astrid to following him to 
Norway. Hereof telleth Sigvat the Skald : 

The daughter of Olaf, wedded 
Erewhile to the victory-keenest 
Lord King the Thick, we guerdon 
With our praise for plenteous jewels. 
Full mickle host of Swede-ground 
Bode Thing-mote east at Hangrar, 
When Astrid did unfold there 
The affairs of the son of Olaf. 

She might not more hail-redy 

With the venturous Swedes have pleaded, 

Though Magnus the much-stirring 

Had son been of her body. 

She caused it most of any, 

After the Christ the mighty, 

That Magnus king gat fain of 

All heritage of Harald. 

The bounteous Magnus certes 
Must guerdon Astrid's kindness, 
Which made mens' friend wide-landed, 
And we thereof full fain are. 
She, the deep-redy woman, 
Hath served her stepson suchwise 
As had done but few others. 
Words frame I to her glory. 

6 The Saga Library. II 

So says also Thiodolf the Skald in Magnus' 
Flock : 

All-wielder, out thou shootedst 
A war-craft ; dipped the swung yard : 
Hard tide that for a thirtier 
To slip into the sea-flood. 
Wild weather, lord, about thee 
The swayed mast spared in nowise ; 
So furled the valiant courtmen 
At Sigtun the kn op-picture. 


MAGNUS OLAFSON began his journey 
from Sigtun, and had then a great com- 
pany which the Swedes had got for him. 
They went a-foot over Sweden, and so on to Hel- 
singland. So says Arnor the earls' skald : 

Sithence ruddy shields ye carried, 
Ygg of battle, round Swede dwellings ; 
Neither gat'st thou host-choice sorry ; 
Sought unto thy hands the land's-folk. 
Reddener of the tongue of wolf-droves, 
Kenned of folk on there thou dravest, 
And thy chosen to the fame-Things, 
With white shields and spears be-carven. 

Sithence fared Magnus Olafson west over lamt- 
land, and over the Keel, and down into Thrand- 
heim, and straightway all the folk of the land gave 
him a good welcome. But the men of King Svein, 
forthwith when they heard that Magnus, son of 
King Olaf, was come there into the land, fled all 
far and wide, and saved themselves, and no with- 

Ill The Story of Magnus the Good. 7 

standing was given against Magnus. King Svein 
was south in the land. So says Arnor the earls' 
skald : 

Reddener of Ygg's sea-mew's feathers, 
From the east to Thrandheim's dwelling 
Cam'st thou with most highest dread-helm ; 
Told they that thy foemen faltered. 
Feeder of wound-waves' blue vulture, 
Knew thy foes their woe a-spreading; 
Therewithal thy foemen frighted 
Needs must turn to save their life-days. 


MAGNUS OLAFSON went with his 
company down to Cheaping, and a good 
welcome he had there. Sithence he let 
summon the Ere-Thing ; and when the bonder-folk 
came to the Thing, then was Magnus taken to king 
over all the land, as far and wide as King Olaf his 
father had owned it. Then King Magnus took to 
him a bodyguard and made landed-men, and in all 
counties he appointed men to stewardships and 
bailiwicks. Straightway that autumn King Magnus 
called out a muster from all about Thrandheim, 
and sped well in his hosting ; and thereafter he 
held with his host southward along the land. 

8 The Saga Library. IV 


KING SVEIN, son of Alfiva, was then 
abiding in South Hordland, when he 
heard this war-tale. Straightway let he 
shear the war-arrow and send four ways from him ; 
he summoned to him the bonder-folk, and let that 
follow, that all the people should be out, with folk 
and ships, and ward the land with him. All that 
folk which was nighest to the king came to meet 
him, and the king held a Thing and had parley 
with the bonders, and put forth his errand, thus 
saying, that he will hold on to meet King 
Magnus, son of King Olaf, and give him battle, if 
the bonders will follow him. The king spoke 
somewhat short, and the bonders made but little 
cheer of his speaking. Sithence the Danish chiefs 
who were with the king talked long talks and deft 
But the bonders answered and spake in their turn, 
and many said that they would follow King Svein, 
and fight with him, but some said nay thereto ; 
othersome held their peace wholly, and some said 
thus, that they would seek to meet King Magnus 
as soon as ever they might bring it about. 

Then answered King Svein : " Meseemeth that 
here have come but few of those bonder-folk unto 
whom we sent word ; and those bonders who are 
here, and tell our very selves that they will follow 
King Magnus, seem to us just the same, as to help 
and avail, as those others who say that they will 
to keep quiet ; and in the same case are those who 
keep silent. But among them who say that they will 

V-VI The Story of Magnus the Good. 9 

themselves follow us, there will be every other man 
or more on whom there will be no good for us to fall 
back, if we give battle to King Magnus. So it is 
my rede that we put not our trust in the good faith 
of these bonders, but fare rather thither where all 
folk is true and trusty to us ; there we have strength 
enough to win this land under our sway." 

And straightway, when the king had thus settled 
the matter, all his men followed this rede. So 
therewith they turn their stems about, and hoisted 
sail ; and King Svein sailed east along the land, 
and letted not till he came to Denmark, where he 
had good welcome. 

But when he met Hordaknut his brother, he 
bade to King Svein to have there rule with him in 
Denmark, and that bidding Svein took. 


KING MAGNUS went that autumn all 
the way east to the land's end, and he 
was taken to king over all the land, and 
all the folk of the land were fain thereof, that 
Magnus was become king. That same autumn died 
Knutthe Rich in England, on the ides of November. 
He was then forty years of age ; he was laid in 
earth at Winchester. By that time he had been 
king over Denmark for seven and twenty winters, 
and over Denmark and England together for 
twenty-four winters, and over Norway withal for 
seven winters. Then was taken to king in 
England Harald, the son of Knut. That same 

io The Saga Library. VII 

winter died Svein Alfiva's son in Denmark. About 
King Magnus Thiodolf sang in this wise : 

Reddener of eagles' footsoles, 
Ye trudged the sand from Sweden ; 
A valiant host thee followed, 
Lord, from the east to Norway, 
Sithence fled Svein, full soothly 
Betrayed, from the land here. 
Alfiva's son, so heard I 
To alien countries drifted. 

Biarni Goldbrow-skald wrought this on Kalf 
Arnison : 

Young kings thou lett'st have heirship 
Such as they turned to after. 
Sooth is that Svein had seized him 
Of Denmark, and that only. 
Thou showed'st fight-eager Magnus 
Back to his land from Garthrealm, 
. , I And in such wise thou wroughted'st 
That the king won back his country. 


y EXT spring both kings called out a 
muster, and the word fared about that 
they would join battle at the Elf. But 
whenas both hosts sought to meeting with each 
other, then the landed-men in either host sent 
word to their kinsmen and friends ; this followed 
the word-sending, that men should make peace 
between the kings. But whereas both kings were 
but bairns, and young, then had the land-rule for 
them mighty men who were taken thereto in either 

VIII The Story of Magnus the Good. 1 1 

host. So things came to this, that a peace-meeting 
was appointed between the kings. Thereupon 
they met themselves, and then peace was talked 
over, and this was the matter agreed on, that the 
kings beswore each other brotherhood and settled 
peace between them while they should both be 
alive ; but if either should die without a son, then 
should he who lived after take after the other land 
and thanes. Twelve men, such as were most 
noblest out of either realm swore moreover with 
the kings that this peace should hold good while 
any one of them was alive. Thus sundered the 
kings, and either fared home into his own realm ; 
and this peace held good while both lived. 


QUEEN ASTRID, whom Olaf the Holy had 
had to wife, came into Norway with Magnus 
her stepson, and was with him in right good 
cheer, as she was worthy of. Therewithal came to 
the court Alfhild, the mother of King Magnus, 
and the king took her to him straightway with 
the dearest love, and seated her in honourable 
wise. But to Alfhild befell what can be to many 
who come into power, that her pride waxed no less 
therewith, and it misliked her that Queen Astrid 
was in any way more honoured than she, either in 
seat or in any other service. Alfhild would to sit 
nigher to the king, but Astrid called her her hand- 
maiden, even as she had been before, when Astrid 
was queen over Norway, whenas King Olaf ruled 
the land. And Astrid would in nowise share a 

12 The Saga Library. IX 

seat with Alfhild, nor might they abide together in 
one chamber. 


SIGVAT the Skald had fared to Rome 
whenas the battle was at Sticklestead. But 
when he was on his way from the south he 
heard of the fall of King Olaf, and that was the 
greatest grief to him. Then sang he : 

On Alps by a burg one morning 
I stood, and me I minded 
Where targes broad a-many 
And side byrnies flew asunder. 
Of the king I then me minded, 
Who of his land was joyous, 
Erst in his days the early. 
There then was Thord my father. 

Sigvat walked on a day through a certain thorpe 
and heard how a husband bewailed him sorely for 
that he had lost his wife ; he beat on his breast 
and rent his clothes from him, greeted much, and 
said that he would fain die. Then sang Sigvat : 

He's fain of dying, saith he, 
For the maiden's bosom missing ; 
Dear-bought is love, if ever 
We needs must weep the dead one. 
But this flight-shunning stout-heart, 
E'en he his lord that loveth, 
Sheds slaughter-tears now; worser 
My loss to the king's men seemeth. 

Sigvat came home to Norway; he had house 
and children in Thrandheim. He fared round by 

IX The Story of Magnus the Good. 13 

the south of the land on a ship of burden ; and 
when they lay in Hill-sound they saw where flew 
many ravens. Sigvat sang : 

I see the ravens flocking 
To the haven where aforetime 
Floated the ship all under 
The right good son of Northmen. 
Yell high the greedy eagles 
Each day inside of Hill-isle, 
E'en they whom Olaf glutted 
In bygone time so often. 

But when Sigvat came north to Cheaping, then 
was King Svein there, and bade Sigvat to come 
to him, whereas he had aforetime been with King 
Knut the Rich, father of King Svein. Sigvat 
said he will fare home to his household. One day 
it betid, as Sigvat was walking in the street, that 
he saw where the king's men were at play, and he 

All thwart go I from the playing 
Of the courtmen of the lord-king. 
Grief in my breast is swelling, 
Thence am I bleak as bast is. 
I mind me how aforetime 
Full oft we played together, 
My famed lord, and we others 
At his good men's odal- dwellings. 

Then he went to his house. He heard many 
men blame him, and say that he had run away 
from King Olaf. Sigvat sang : 

Hot fire may White-Christ let me 
Have for my wite, if willed I 
To hold aloof from Olaf ; 
Of that am I all guiltless. 

14 The Saga Library. IX 

To Rome was I a-wending 
On others' peril : thereto 
Have I witness water-plenty ; 
From folk I hide that never. 

Sigvat was ill content at home ; one day he was 
walking abroad, and sang : 

Whiles Olaf lived medeemed it 
That laughed the cliffs high-stony 
All Norway through. Aforetime 
Kenned was I on the ship-board. 
Now, when is all gone from me 
The king's grace, much unblither 
The fair hill-slopes are seeming : 
Such and so sore my sorrow ! 

Sigvat went in the early winter east over the 
Keel to lamtland, and thence to Helsingland, and 
came down into Sweden, and went forthwith to 
Queen Astrid, and was with her in good cheer for 
a long time. He was also with King Emund, her 
brother, and had from him ten marks burned, as 
it says in Knut's-drapa. Sigvat would often ask, 
when he met chapmen out to Holmgarth, what 
they had to tell him of Magnus Olafson. He 
sang : 

Yet yearn I to be hearing 

From the east : for oft are spreading 

From Garthrealm many praises 

Of the young lord, and are spared hot. 

E'en though there fly betwixt us 

The smallest fowls air-cleaving, 

Of the small king's son a-faring 

I hear, and my hope appeaseth. 

X The Story of Magnus the Good. 1 5 


BUT when Magnus Olafson came to Sweden 
out of Garthrealm, Sigvat was there already 
with Queen Astrid, and all of them, they 
were much fain. Then sang Sigvat : 

In venturous wise thou soughtest 
Home to our hands, King Magnus. 
Of land and men well mayst thou 
Be fain : thy might I uphold. 
I might not fare to fetch thee 
In Garthrealm, king of people, 
Whereas that I was warder 
Elsewhere of thy kinswoman. 

Then Sigvat betook himself, together with Queen 
Astrid, to the following of Magnus to Norway. 
Sigvat sang : 

I say my thoughts, O Magnus ! 
Unto the men of Thing-drifts, 
That fain exceeding am I 
Of life thine, by God's blessing. 
If this folk-lord a son be 
Of glory, like his father, 
Then few of folk were living 
Who such a king should get them. 

But when Magnus had become king over Nor- 
way, Sigvat the Skald followed him, and was most 
dear to the king. This he sang once, when Queen 
Astrid, and Alfhild, the king's mother, had been 
bandying words together : 

Alfhild, now let thou Astrid 
E'en than thyself be higher ! 
Although thy state wax better 
Much greatly ; that God willed. 

1 6 The Saga Library. XI 


KING MAGNUS let make a shrine, and 
dight the same with gold and silver, and 
set stones therein. This shrine was done 
after the fashion of a coffin, both as to greatness 
and other shape. But under it were arches, and 
over it a lid after the fashion of a roof, going up 
into a gable top with a head thereon ; on the lid 
there are hinges at the back, but in front there are 
hasps, and there the shrine is locked with a key. 
Then King Magnus let lay in shrine the holy 
relic of King Olaf, and many miracles were wrought 
there at the holy relic of King Olaf, as is told by 
Sigvat the Skald : 

To my lord who good heart bore him 

A golden shrine is fashioned. 

The holidom I praise now 

Of the king ; to God he wended. 

Full many a ring-stem thither 

Came blind, who thence next morning 

Whole-sighted goes, from the noble 

Bed of the king, the clean heart. 

Then was it taken to law throughout all Nor- 
way to hold holy the feast of King Olaf, and that 
day was straightway so holden there, even as the 
greatest high-tides. Hereof telleth Sigvat the 
Skald : 

Of Olaf, Magnus' father, 
The mass behoves us hallow 
In house of mine whole-hearted, 
Might to the king God giveth. 

XII-XIII Story of Magnus the Good. 17 

Bound am I to hold guileless 
The feast of the king bemoaned, 
E'en he who mine arm-branches 
Bedecked with gold the ruddy. 


^T^HORIR HOUND fared away from the 

[ land a little after the fall of King Olaf. 

.A. Thorir fared out to Jerusalem, and it is 

the say of many folk that he has never come back. 

Sigurd was hight the son of Thorir Hound, and 

was father to Ranveig, who was wedded by Joan, 

the son of Arni, who was the son of Arni ; their 

children were Vidkunn of Birchisle, and Sigurd 

Hound, Erling, and Jartrud. 


HAREK of Thiotta sat at home on his 
lands even until Magnus Olafson came 
into the land and became king. Then 
went Harek south to Thrandheim to see King 
Magnus. There was then with King Magnus 
Asmund, the son of Grankel. But as Harek 
was a-walking up from the ship whenas he came 
to Nidoyce, Asmund was standing on the loft- 
swale with the king ; they saw Harek, and 
knew him. Then spake Asmund to the king : 
" Now will I reward Harek the killing of my 
father." He had in his hand a broad-axe, little, 
and thinnish. 

The king looked to him, and said : " Have my 

v. c 

1 8 The Saga Library. XIV 

axe rather." (Now that was one wedge-beaten 
and thick.) And again the king said : " Look to 
it, Asmund ; hard are the bones in that carle." 

Asmund took the axe and went down and out 
of the garth, and when he came down to the thwart- 
street, then were Harek and his a- walking up from 
below against him. Asmund hewed Harek in the 
head, so that straightway the axe stood down in 
the brain of him, and that was the bane of Harek. 
But Asmund walked up again into the garth unto 
the king, and all the edge of the axe was perished. 

Then said the king : " How then would have 
done that thin axe of thine ? Meseemeth this one 
is all undone." 

Thereafter King Magnus gave Asmund domain 
and bailiwick in Halogaland ; and many and great 
tales are told of the dealings of Asmund and the 
sons of Harek. 


AT first Kalf, the son of Arni, had most 
chiefly the land-rule with King Magnus for 
some time. But then people took on 
themselves to call to the king's mind where Kalf 
had been at Sticklestead, and after that it was a 
harder task for Kalf to give due heed to the 
temper of the king. It befell on a time, whenas 
there was a throng about the king, and men pleaded 
their causes, that there came before him with his 
pressing errand the man who hath been named 
before, Thorgeir, to wit, of Sula in Verdale. The 
king paid no heed to his words, but hearkened 

XV The Story of Magnus the Good. 19 

them who were nigher to him. Then spoke 
Thorgeir to the king aloud, so that all heard who 
were there anigh : 

Speak thou to me, 
Magnus, king. 
I was a-following 
On with thy father. 
Then bare I thence 
Mine head to-hewen, 
When over the dead king 
These were striding. 
Now dost thou cherish 
That wretched host, 
The lord's-betrayers 
Who joyed the devil. 

Then made men huge clamour thereat, and 
some bade Thorgeir go out. But the king called 
Thorgeir to him, and ended his errands in such 
wise that Thorgeir was well pleased, and the 
king behight him his friendship. 


THAT was a little thereafter that King 
Magnus was at a feast at Howe in Ver- 
dale. And as the king sat at meat-board, 
there sat on one hand of him Kalf Arnison, and 
on the other Einar Thambarskelfir. By that time 
matters had come to this, that the king would 
have little to do with Kalf, and now held Einar in 
the greatest honour. 

The king said to Einar: "We will ride unto 
Sticklestead to-day; I wish to see what tokens be 

2o The Saga Library. XV 

of what there befell." Einar answered : " I know 
not how to tell thee thereof. Let Kalf thy loveling ; 
he knoweth how to tell of the tidings there." 

So when the boards were drawn, the king arrayed 
him to go, and spake to Kalf : " Thou shalt fare 
with me to Sticklestead." Kalf answered that 
that was not needful. Then the king stood up, 
and spoke somewhat angrily : " Fare shalt thou, 
Kalf ! " and therewith the king walked out. 

Kalf clad himself swiftly, and spake to his swain : 
" Thou shalt ride up to Eggja, and bid my house- 
carles have every vat aboard ship before sun- 

The king rode to Sticklestead, and Kalf with 
him, and they got off their horses and walked to 
the spot where the battle had been. Then said 
the king to Kalf : " Where is the stead whereas 
the king fell ? " Kalf answered and stretched forth 
his spear-shaft : " Here he lay fallen," said he. 
Then the king said : " Where wert thou then, 
Kalf?" He answered: "Here, where now I 
stand." The king said, and was then red as blood : 
" Then might thine axe have taken on him." 
Kalf answered : " Nought took mine axe on him.'* 
And therewithal he walked away to his horse, 
leapt aback thereof, and rode off on his way, and 
all his men with him. But the king rode back to- 

Kalf came in the evening up to Eggja ; his 
ship lay all dight at the gangways with all chattels 
come aboard it, and manned with his house-carles. 
Forthwith at night they made down the firth, and 
Kalf fared day and night as the wind blew; he 

XVI The Story of Magnus the Good. 21 

sailed west over the sea and tarried there long, 
and harried about Scotland, Ireland, and the 
South-isles. This telleth Biarni Goldbrow-skald 
in Kalf s-flock : 

O Thorberg's brother, heard I, 
That the brother's son of Harald 
Was good to thee ; thou mad'st thee 
Worthy thereof. That held on 
Till folk therein wrought evil. 
All busily thine enviers 
Waked up the strife betwixt you. 
The hurt of the son of Olaf 
Behold I in these matters. 


KING MAGNUS cast his owning over 
Vigg, which Ram had had, and Quiststead, 
which Thorgeir had had, Eggja withal, 
and all that wealth which Kalf left behind, and 
many other big havings he let fall into the king's 
garth, even such as they had had who fell at 
Sticklestead in the host of the bonders. He did 
also many heavy punishments on those who had 
been in that battle against KingOlaf ; somehedrove 
from the land, from others he took much wealth, 
and the cattle of othersome he let hew. Then the 
bonders began to bewail them, and said among 
themselves : " What can abide in the mind of this 
king, in that he breaks for us the laws, even they 
which Hakon the Good set up ? Doth he not 
remember that we have never tholed unright ? 
He will have to fare the same way as his father, 

22 The Saga Library. XVII 

or other lords, they whom we have taken from life 
when we got weary of their masterfulness and 

This complaining was widespread in the land. 
The men of Sogn had an hosting, and gave out 
the word that they would hold on to battle against 
Magnus if he should fare thereabouts. King 
Magnus was then in Hordland, and had dwelt 
there much long, and had a big host, and made as 
if from time to time he would fare north into Sogn. 
Thereof were the friends of the king ware, and met 
together on a parley, twelve of them, and settled 
between them to allot it to one man to tell the kino- 


of this complaining ; and in such wise brought the 
matter about, that the lot fell on Sigvat. 


SIGVAT wrought a Flock called the Staves 
of Naked Says, beginning with this first, 
that they deemed the king over much 
weltered in his rede in beating down the bonders, 
they who threatened to raise up unpeace against 
him. He sang : 

Strife hear I south mid Sogn-folk ; 

Sigvat the king has letted 

From trying a folk-battle ; 

Yet if we fight, then fare I. 

Don weapons ! be we warding 

The king full well with war-swords, 

All eager for that meeting. 

How long shall the land be sundered ? 

XVII The Story of Magnus the Good. 23 
In that same lay there are these staves : 

Hakon, who fell at Fitjar, 
Was hight most good, yet did he 
Of foe-thiefdom avenge him, 
And well did men-folk love him. 
Sithence folk held the laws fast 
Of the foster-son most kindly 
Of Athelstane ; the bonders 
Are slow to his forgetting. 

I deem that the carle-folk rightly 

Made choice ; whereas the Olafs, 

And therewithal the earls, gave 

Peace to the lands of people. 

The Harald's heir, the ever 

Full trusty son of Tryggvi, 

Let hold the laws leek-equal 

Which folk took from those namesakes. 

Thy rede-givers bewroth not, 
Lord ! for the naked-speaking, 
O king, that word the way clears 
Unto the ruler's glory. 
Unless the land-host lieth, 
Quoth the bonders they have other, 
Worse laws, than thou behighted'st 
Erewhile to men in Wolfsound. 

O lord of the hard vengeance, 
Who is it now that eggs thee 
From thy word to go a-backward ? 
Oft triest thou the thin steel. 
The lord of men victorious 
To his word should be fast-bounden. 
Fight-furtherer, it behoves thee 
Never to rive thine oath sworn. 

Who eggs thee on, fight-heeder, 
To hew thine own thanes' cattle ? 
In his land such work to win him 
For a king is over-boldness. 

24 The Saga Library. XVII 

Ne'er erst hath any counselled 
A young lord thus : thy lads, king, 
Of robberies are weary. 
Thereat is the whole folk angry. 

Give heed, O thieves' o'erthrower, 
To that murmur of the bonders 
Which fareth now around us ! 
Hold thou thine hand in measure. 
O gladdener of the falcon 
Of wounds' warm tears ; a friend 'tis 
Who biddeth warning : hearken 
Unto the husbands' willing. 

Peril, when all men hoary 
Against the king are minded, 
E'en as I hear ; now shalt thou 
Take rede thereto beforehand. 
Hideous it is, when the Thing-men 
Lay head to head, and thrust down 
Nose into cloak-lap : soothly 
Silence the thanes hath smitten. 

One thing most ugly, bonders 
The noble now are saying : 
His hand my lord-king layeth 
Upon the thanes' own heir-lands. 
For reiving will folk tell it 
If their heritage they render 
Unto the king's reeves, e'en as 
A hasty-passed doom doeth. 

After this warning the king changed for the 
better, and many furthered this same matter before 
the king. And so it came about, that the king 
had talk with the wisest men, and then they framed 
their laws. Sithence King Magnus let write the 
law-book which is still in Thrandheim, and is called 
" Greygoose." Sithence King Magnus became 
well befriended and beloved of all folk of the 

XVIII The Story of Magnus the Good. 25 

land, and for that sake was he called Magnus the 


HARALD, King of the English, died five 
years after the death of Knut his father, 
and was laid in earth beside his father 
in Winchester. After his death took kingdom in 
England Knut, the brother of Harald, another son 
of Knut the Old. So he was then king both over 
England and the Dane-realm, and ruled thereover 
for two winters. He died sick in England, and 
is laid in earth beside his father in Winchester. 
After his death was taken to king Edward the 
Good, son of yEthelred, King of the English, and 
of Queen Emma, the daughter of Richard the 
Rouen-earl. King Edward was brother by the 
same mother of Harald and Hordaknut. Gunn- 
hild hight the daughter of Knut the Old and 
Emma, and was wedded to Kaiser Henry of Sax- 
land, who was called Henry the Bounteous. Gunn- 
hild was three winters in Saxland or ever she 
took sick and died ; she died five winters after the 
death of Knut her father. 

26 The Saga Library. XIX-XX 


the death of Hordaknut ; then sent he 
men forthwith south to Denmark, and did 
with them messages to those men who had bound 
themselves to him with sworn oaths, when peace 
and covenant were made between Magnus and 
Hordaknut, and called to mind of them their 
words, and let that follow, that he himself would 
be coming, so soon as summer was, to Denmark 
with his host, and the ending word let go here- 
with, that he would get to him all the Dane-realm, 
even as stood thereto covenant and sworn oaths, 
or himself to fall in battle with his host. So sayeth 
Arnor the earls' skald : 

Of mastery was the word-store 
Allotted to the earls' lord. 
Wrought out was what the luller 
Of the woe of wolf was speaking, 
When the king said he was ready 
, Beneath the claw of raven 
Grovelling to fall in shield-din 
The grim, or get him Denmark. 


THEN King Magnus gathers his host 
together, and summoned to him landed- 
men and rich bonders, and gat to him 
longships. And when that host was all together 
it was of the bravest to behold and right well 

XX The Story of Magnus the Good. 27 

arrayed. He had seventy ships when he sailed 
from Nonvay. So says Thiodolf : 

Thou brooked'st longships boldly, 

lord the battle-valiant ; 
Whereas men had to eastward 
Of keels a ten times seven. 
Southward the ship-boards murmured ; 
Topped sails with tackle wrangled ; 
The mast-long oak the bay clove ; 
His bent board bowed the Bison. 

Here it is said that King Magnus had the 
Great Bison which King Olaf had done make ; 
that was by tale of more than thirty rowing 
benches, and on the prow thereof was the head of 
a bison, but aft there was a tail ; and the head, the 
tail, and both beaks were all laid with gold. This 
Arnor the earls' skald telleth of : 

Drave loath lather from withoutward 
On the poop-side ; shook the red-gold 
On ship's rudder : speedy fir's hound 
Stooped down on the rushing fir-craft ; 
From the north stark stems thou heldest 
Round Stafanger ; all ahead there 
Quaked the deep : and glowed as fire 
Storm-steeds' topmasts in the Dane-realm. 

King Magnus put to sea out from Agdir over 
to Jutland. So sayeth Arnor : 

1 shall tell how the Bison, 
Rime-smitten, lee-board-leaning 
Bare on the lord, the deed-swift, 

Of the Sogn-folk from the northward. 
The byrny-Thing's fierce bidder 
laid prow unto broad Jutland ; 
And fain the folk did take him, 
The driver of the belt-shaft. 

28 The Saga Library. XXI-XXII 


BUT when King Magnus came to Denmark, 
there had he a good welcome ; and speedily 
he had Things and Motes with the folk of 
the land, and craved to be taken to king of them, 
even as had been covenanted afore. And whereas 
the chiefs of the land, they that were of the 
highest renown in Denmark, were bound by oaths 
to King Magnus and desired to keep their words 
and oaths, they furthered much this matter before 
the folk. This again went thereto, that King Knut 
the Rich was passed away, and all his offspring 
dead ; and this was the third thing, that by then 
the holiness of Olaf had become known over all 
lands, and the working of his miracles. 


THEN King Magnus let summon the 
Thing of Vebiorg : thereat the Danes, 
both of old time and new, take their 
kings ; and at this Thing the Danes made Magnus 
Olafson king over all the Dane-realm. Dwelt 
King Magnus for a long while that summer in 
Denmark, and all folk welcomed him well where- 
soever he came, and gave him obeisance. And he 
appointed over all the land men to bailiwicks and 
counties, and made grants to men of might. But 
when the autumn wore, he made for Norway with 
his host, and tarried in the Elf for a while. 

XXIII The Story of Magnus the Good. 29 


A MAN is named Svein, the son of Earl 
Wolf, the son of Thorgils Sprakalegg. 
The mother of Svein was Astrid, the 
daughter of King Svein Twibeard. She was the 
sister of Knut the Rich by the same father, but 
of the same mother as Olaf the Swede-king, 
the son of Eric ; their mother was Sigrid the 
Haughty, daughter of Skogul-Tosti. Svein, the 
son of Wolf, had by then dwelt a long while with 
the Swede-kings, his kinsmen, all along since the 
fall of his father, Earl Wolf, whereof it is written 
in the story of Knut the Old, that he let slay Wolf 
his brother-in-law at Roskild. For that sake 
Svein was not in Denmark afterwards. 

Svein, the son of Wolf, was of all men the good- 
liest to look upon, the greatest and strongest 
moreover, and a man of the greatest prowess and 
excellence. It was the say of all men to whom 
he was known, that he had all things which make 
fair a good lord. 

Svein, Wolfs son, came to see King Magnus 
whenas he lay in the Elf, as was said afore ; and 
the king gave him a good welcome. Withal there 
were many to further him, for Svein was a man 
most well befriended, and he told his matters him- 
self before the king most fairly and deftly, so 
that it came to this, that he went to King Magnus' 
hand and became his man. Whereupon he and 
the king talked many things over privily between 

3O The Saga Library. XXIV 


ONE day, when King Magnus sat in the 
high-seat with a throng around him, 
Svein sat on the footstool before the 
king, and the king took up the word and said : 
" I will make known unto my lords and to all the 
all-folk that counsel which I will let be. Unto 
me here is come a man worthy both as to kin 
and as to himself, Svein, Wolfs son, to wit. He 
has now become my man, and has handselled me 
his faith to that end. But inasmuch as ye know, 
that this summer all Danes have become my men, 
now is that land headless, whereas I am gone 
away ; and as ye wot, there is much war-risk both 
from Wends and Courlanders, and other folk of the 
East-ways, or even from Saxons. Now I behight 
them to get a lord for the warding of the land and 
the ruling thereof, and I see no man as meet 
thereto for all sakes as Svein, the son of Wolf ; for 
he hath kin thereto to be a lord. Now there- 
fore I shall make him my earl, and give into his 
hands the Dane-realm to rule over whiles I am in 
Norway, even as Knut the Rich set Earl Wolf 
his father to be lord over Denmark, when Knut 
was in England." 

Einar Thambarskelfir answered : " Overmuch- 
earl, overmuch-earl, foster-son ! " 

The king spake wrathfully : " Thou thinkest I 
know but few ; but to me it seemeth that some ye 
deem overmuch-earls, and othersome no men at 

XXV The Story of Magnus the Good. 31 

Then stood up the king and fastened a sword 
to the belt of Svein, and sithence took a shield 
and did it on his shoulder ; sithence set a helm 
on his head, and gave him earl's name and the 
same grants in Denmark as Wolf his father had 
had there aforetime. Then a shrine with holy 
relics was brought forth, and Svein laid his hands 
thereon and swore oaths of fealty to King 
Magnus ; sithence the king led the earl into the 
high-seat beside him. So says Thiodolf : 

Wolfs son himself was east there 
At the Elf; there Svein betook him, 
Hand on the shrine, to swearing, 
And there behight he fairly. 
The lord-king of the Skanings, 
E'en Olaf's son, the oath framed. 
To him hath been more short-lived 
Their covenant than should be. 

Then fared Earl Svein to Denmark, and had 
there good welcome of all the folk. Then he took 
to him a bodyguard, and became speedily a great 
lord ; and through the winter he went far and 
wide about the land and made much friendship 
with the great men, and thereto was he well beloved 
of the commonalty. 


KING MAGNUS held his host north into 
Norway, and tarried there through the 
winter. But when spring came, King 
Magnus had out a mickle host, and held with it 

32 l^he Saga Library. XXV. 

south to Denmark. But when he came there he 
heard the tidings from Wendland that the Wends 
had turned away from his obeisance in Jomsburg. 
There had the Dane-kings had a mickle earldom ; 
they had reared Jomsburg from the beginning, and 
now was that become an all-stark stronghold. But 
when King Magnus heard such said, he bade out 
from Denmark a mickle ship-host, and made that 
summer for Wendland with all the host, and a 
right mickle host he had. Thereof telleth Arnor 
the earls' skald : 

Thou, king's son, shalt hear in stave-lay 
How the war-shield unto Wendland 
Bare ye. Then thou drewest, O happy, 
Rimy boards off the smooth rollers. 
Heard I ne'er of king that ever 
More ships hosted to their heir-land. 
Then by ships was ploughed the sea-flood ; 
Wrought ye, king, once more Wend-sorrow. 

But when King Magnus came to Wendland, he 
laid on to Jomsburg, and won the burg forthwith ; 
there he slew much folk, and burned the burg and 
the country wide away out from it, and wrought 
there the greatest deeds of war. So sayeth Arnor 
the earls' skald : 

Shielding ! far'd'st thou forth with fire 
Through a wild folk, then to warriors 
Death was fated : thiefs'-bane ! South there 
Fire-gleam highest at Jom ye kindled. 
In the work the heathen people 
Nowhere durst their halls be warding. 
King, ye wrought with the bright fire 
Drooping hearts unto the Burgmen. 

Much folk in Wendland went under King 

XXVI The Story of Magnus the Good. 33 

Magnus' hand, but much more was that which fled 
away. Then fared King Magnus back to Den- 
mark, and arrayed him there for winter-seat, but 
sent away from him the host, both the Danish 
host, and therewithal a great company of the band 
that had followed him from Norway. 


THE same winter that Svein, son of Wolf, 
had got the rule over Denmark, and 
had made great friendship with a many 
big men, and gotten much the praise of the com- 
monalty, he let give him the king's name, and that 
rede many chiefs turned to. But in the spring, 
when he heard that Magnus fared from the north 
from Norway, and had a great host, then fared 
Svein to Skaney, and thence up into Gautland, 
and so on to Sweden, to find King Emund his 
kinsman, and tarried there through the summer, 
but had spies in Denmark about the journey of 
King Magnus and the multitude of his host. But 
when King Svein heard that King Magnus had 
let fare from him a great part of his host, and 
therewith that he was south in Jutland, then 
Svein rode down from Sweden, having with him a 
great host which the King of Sweden got for 
him. But when Svein came west to Skaney, the 
Skanings gave him a good welcome, and upheld 
him there for king, and then a great host drifted 
to him. Sithence he went over unto Sealand, where 
he was well taken, and all that land he laid under 
v. D 

34 The Saga Library. XXVII 

him. Then he went to Fion, and laid under him 
all islands, and the folk went under him, and Svein 
had a great host and many ships. 


KING MAGNUS heard these tidings, and 
therewithal too that the Wends had an 
host out. Then King Magnus summoned 
an host to him, and there drew to him speedily an 
host from all Jutland. To him came Duke Otta of 
Saxland from Brunswick ; he had to wife Ulfhild, 
the daughter of King Olaf the Holy, the sister to 
King Magnus. The duke had a mickle following 
of men. The chiefs of the Danes urged King 
Magnus to go against the war-host of the Wends, 
and let not heathen folk overrun the land there 
and waste it. And that rede was taken, so the 
king turned with his host south to Heathby. 
But when King Magnus lay by Skotburg- water 
on Lyrshaw-heath, there came to him news of the 
war-host of the Wends, and that withal, that they 
had so mickle an host as none might tell, and that 
King Magnus had no deal against that multitude, 
and that that alone would avail him, to flee away. 

Yet would King Magnus fight if men thought 
he had any chance of victory ; but most letted 
him, saying all with one consent that the Wends 
had an host not to be turned to flight. But Duke 
Otta somewhat urged to fight. 

So the king had the whole host blown together, 
and let all men do on their war-gear, and they lay 

XXVIII The Story of Magnus the Good. 35 

out the night through under their shields ; for they 
were told that the host of the Wends was come 
anigh them. The king was much heart-sick, and 
deemed it ill if he must needs flee away, for that he 
had never tried; and little he slept through the 
night, and sang his prayers. 


THE next day was Michaelmas Eve. Now 
when it was hard on day the king slept, 
and dreamed that he saw the holy King 
Olaf, his father, who said to him : " Art thou now 
much heart-sick and fulfilled of fear, whereas the 
Wends fare against thee with a great host ? 
Nought shalt thou dread of an heathen host, though 
they be many together. I shall follow thee up in 
this battle ; betake thee to battle with the Wends, 
so soon as ye hear mine horn." 

But when the king awoke he told his dream. 
Then the light of day began to show, and all the 
folk heard the sound of bells up in the air, and 
such of King Magnus' men as had been in Nidoyce 
thought they knew the sound, that it was as if 
Glad were being rung, even that bell which King 
Olaf had given to the church of Clement at 

36 The Saga Library. 


THEN stood up King Magnus, and called 
to blow the blast of war. Therewithal 
fared the Wend-host over the river at 
them, from the south. Then the whole host of 
the king sprang to their feet and made for the 
heathen. King Magnus cast from him his ring- 
byrny, and had outwards a red silken shirt, and 
he took in his hand the axe Hell, which King 
Olaf had owned. King Magnus ran before all 
other men against the host, and hewed forthwith 
with both hands one man after another, as saith 
Arnor the earls' skald : 

Rushed forth the king unweary 

With broad axe ; there was sword-din 

About the lord of Hord-folk ; 

But he cast his byrny from him. 

Then fallow heads did Hell cleave 

When the king's two hands the heft clasped ; 

But the ever-living warden 

Of Heaven dealt the field out. 

This battle was nought long ; the king's men 
were most eager. And wheresoever they came 
together the Wends fell as thick and fast as if 
they lay in wave-drifts ; but those who stood back- 
warder turned to flight, and there were they hewn 
down like to cattle. The king himself drave the 
flight east over the heath, and the folk fell all 
about the heath. So says Thiodolf : 

The brother's son of Harald 
Meseems stood first of all men 

XXIX The Story of Magnus the Good. 37 

In the hundred's-flock. The raven 
Knew hunger-bann the keenest. 
Wide lay the route of Wend-folk ; 
Needs must the hewen slaughter 
A heath mile-broad hyll over, 
There whereas Magnus battled. 

It is the say of all folk that no man-fall hath 
been so mickle in the North-lands in Christian 
time as that which was of the Wends on Lyrshaw- 
heath. But of King Magnus' host fell not a many, 
though a multitude were wounded. After the 
battle King Magnus let bind the wounds of his 
men, but leeches were not so many in the host as 
were needed then. Then went the king to such 
men as seemed good to him, and felt their hands ; 
but whenas he had taken and stroked the hollow 
of their hands, then named he twelve men who 
seemed to him would be the softest handed, and told 
them to bind up the wounds of men, and yet none 
of them had bound a wound before, but all these 
became the greatest of leeches. There were two 
Iceland men there : one was Thorkel, son of Geiri 
of Lings, the other Atli, the father of Bard the 
Black of Sel-waterdale, and from them came 
many leeches sithence. After this battle, became 
renowned far and wide over lands that miracle 
which the holy King Olaf had wrought, and it 
became the talk of all men, that none need fight 
against King Magnus Olafson, and that King 
Olaf, his father, was so heedful of him, that for 
that reason his unfriends might in no way with- 
stand him. 

38 The Saga Library. XXX-XXXI 


KING MAGNUS turned his host forth- 
with against Svein, whom he called his 
earl, though the Danes called him king. 
King Magnus betook him to shipboard and arrayed 
his host, and either side drew together thronging. 
There were then a many chieftains in the host of 
Svein, Skanings, men of Halland and Sealandand 
Fion-dwellers. But King Magnus had mostly 
Northmen and Jutes. So he made with his host 
to meet Svein. 

Their meeting befell at Re off Westland, and 
there was a mickle battle, and such was the end 
thereof, that King Magnus had the victory ; but 
Svein turned to flight, and lost much folk. He 
fled back to Skaney, for he had shelter up in 
Gautland if he should need to take to it. But 
King Magnus went back to Jutland, and sat there 
with much folk over the winter, and gave heed to 
his ships. Hereof telleth Arnor the earls' skald : 

The king all eager-hearted 
Let the hard Thing of Glammi 
Be held at Re ; he reddened 
Welsh brands off the wide Westland. 


SVEIN WOLFSON fared straightway 
aboard his ships, whenas he heard that 
King Magnus had gone from off board. 
Svein drew to him company all he could get, and 

XXXI The Story of Magnus the Good. 39 

fared that winter over Sealand and Fion and over 
the islands ; and when it drew towards Yule he 
held south to Jutland, and went first to Limbfirth, 
and much folk went under him. But of some he 
took tribute, othersome fared to find King Magnus. 
But when King Magnus heard this, what Svein 
was setting about, he went to his ships, having 
with him the host of Northmen that then was in 
Denmark and some company of Danes, and held 
therewith from the south along the land. Svein 
was then in Riveroyce, and had a great host, and 
when he had news of the host of King Magnus 
he laid his whole host out of the town and arrayed 
him for battle. 

But when King Magnus had heard where Svein 
was, and wotted that now there must be a short 
way betwixt them, then had he a House-thing and 
spake to his host, and said thus : " Now have we 
heard that the earl with his host must be lying 
here before us, and it is told me that they have a 
great host ; so I will make known unto you my 
mind hereon. I will betake me to find the earl, 
and will give battle to him, though we have folk 
somewhat fewer. Now will we have trust, as 
aforetime, there whereas God is himself, and the 
holy King Olaf, my father, who has sundry times 
already given victory to us when we have fought, 
and often have we had lesser company than our 
unfriends. Now will I that my men array them 
so that we seek them out ; and so soon as we meet 
together, then shall we row on them, and fall to 
battle straightway ; then let all my men be ready 
to fight." 

4O The Saga Library. XXXI 

Sithence they did on their war- gear, and every 
man arrayed himself and his berth. So King 
Magnus and his men rowed forth until they saw 
the host of the earl, and therewith they gave way. 
But the men of Svein weaponed them and lashed 
their ships together, and a hard fight there befell 
forthwith. So saith Thiodolf : 

Short while since earl and lord-king, 
They laid the shields together. 
Then play of brands all bitter 
Came on the thorns of sea-gleeds ; 
That they the sark who marked 
Of the Thing of Odin's handmaid 
Minded no greater battle. 
There wrought the host the spear-din. 

They fought over the stems, and they only 
might come to hewing who were in the prows; 
but they who were in the fore-room thrust with 
spears, but all such as were more aft shot twirl- 
spears or gavelocks or war-arrows ; but some 
hurled stones or shaft-flints ; but those aft of 
the mast shot with bows. This Thiodolf telleth 

Heard I that men shot swiftly 
Shaft-flints against the broad shields, 
And many a spear. The raven 
Gat meat when we made battle. 
Men used to their most the arrows 
And stones in weapons' wrangle. 
Forsooth the thorns of gold rings, 
They lay there sorely beaten. 

The Thrandheimers, they would not 

Come to an end of shooting, 

Until the bowmen bare not 

More shafts that day to the tugged flax. 

XXXI The Story of Magnus the Good. 41 

Then flew about the battle 
Twirl-spears so thick together 
That ill one saw betwixt them. 
Wild say they was the shaft-drift. 

Here it is told how wild was the shot-storm. 
King Magnus was at first in the beginning of the 
battle in a shieldburg, but when he deemed the 
work sped slowly, he sprang forth from the shield- 
burg and so along the ship, and called high aloud 
and egged on his men, and went right forth on 
into the prow into the hewing-fight. And when 
his men saw this, each egged on the other, and 
then was there mickle shout throughout all the 
host. So saith Thiodolf : 

Much Magnus bade the warriors, 
And each the other, briskly 
To shove forth war-clouds. There where 
They fought, were boards hard handled. 

Then befell the battle of the fiercest. In that 
brunt was cleared the ship of Svein afore about 
the prow and the bows. Then went Magnus 
himself with his following up on to the ship of 
Svein, and sithence his men, one after the other ; 
then was made so hard an onset, that S vein's men 
shrank before it, and King Magnus cleared that 
ship, and sithence one after the other. Then Svein 
fled and a mickle deal of his host, and many fell 
of his men, and a many gat quarter. So saith 

Magnus, the ward of keel-wains, 
Went forth in fight on fore-stem, 
Fair wrought that was far famed 
Of the raven of the harbour. 

42 The Saga Library. XXXI 

There did we so that the war-host 
Of the house-carles was for-wasted 
To the earl ; but the king's catch waxed. 
And rid the host the ships there. 

The earl's host fell to fleeing 
Ere the dear one, he the waster 
Of the sun of the swan-field, hanselled 
A truce of life to the sword-staves. 

This battle befell on the Lord's day next before 
Yule. So saith Thiodolf : 

Fell was the fight there foughten, 
Whenas the stems of hard-squall 
Of Hrammi fought that Sunday ; 
The swift host went to battle. 
On every wave corpse floated 
Whenas fey stems of sword-din 
Lost life, and sank the people 
Adown from off the dragons. 

There King Magnus took seven ships from the 
men of Svein. So says Thiodolf: 

The son of the Thick Olaf 
Seven ships of late hath ridded. 
The king won victory. Drooping 
The Sogn women hear not. 

And still he sang : 

Svein's fellows missed home-coming ; 
For sooth 'tis clear, O Sword-Gaut, 
That the journey of the warriors 
E'en somewhat hard is waxen. 
The storm-stirred wave is tossing 
The skulls and legs of these ones 
On the sands' ground, and roareth 
The sea-flood o'er the wealth-wights. 

Svein fled forthwith that night to Sealand with 

XXXII The Story of 'Magnus the Good. 43 

such of his host as got away and would follow him ; 
but King Magnus laid his ships to the land, and 
let straightway that night his host fare aland, but 
early in the morning they came down with a 
mickle strand-hew. Thereof Thiodolf telleth : 

But yesterday beheld I 
Big stones cast ; they were flying 
Fast on their ranks of battle : 
Before stones skulls were gaping. 
The strand-hew down we drave there ; 
In midmost land the ship-stems 
Have taken stead ; Svein will not 
With words alone the land ward. 


KING MAGNUS straightway held his 
host from the south to Sealand after 
Svein. But when the host of King 
Magnus came in sight, Svein fled forthwith up 
into the land and all his host, but King Magnus 
pushed on after them, and drave the chase ; 
and they slew such as they caught. So saith 
Thiodolf : 

One word asked the Sealand maiden, 
Who bore the shields blood-reddened ? 
Sooth is that folk a many 
Had even such-like tokens. 
But fated was the wealth-staff 
To stride across the woodland. 
Flight manifold bare swiftly 
The foot-soles unto Ringstead. 

The swift lord of the Skanings 
Bare neck all mire bespattered. 

44 The Saga Library. XXXIII 

A wonder that the world-proud 
Lund's Allwielder may hold out ! 
But yesterday the banners 
Of the strong earl flew o'er moorland 
And mould forth to the sea-flood. 
Swift darts o'er the howe-ways drifted. 

Then fled Svein over to Fion, but King 
Magnus fared the war-shield over Sealand, and 
wide about burnt the abodes of those who in the 
autumn-tide had joined them to the flock of Svein. 
So says Thiodolf : 

Of the kingly seat that winter 
The earl he gat him quittance : 
Thou lettest not a little 
Land-warding come from theeward. 
Thou mightest, bounteous Magnus, 
Risk thee in fight 'neath war-shield : 
Then 'twas unto the doughty 
Knut's neave as he were undone. 

Thrands' king, thou durst in anger 
Maim shield ! thou lett'st give houses 
Fire-doomed to gleeds and blazing ; 
Each one of them thou tookest. 
Friend of thy goodmen, wouldst thou 
Pay the earl's fellows throughly 
For that their scathesome foeship. 
They fled in haste before thee. 


FORTHWITH, when King Magnus heard 
of the whereabouts of Svein, he held his 
host over to Fion. But when Svein heard 
that, he went aboard ship and sailed off, and hove 
in to Skaney, and fared thence into Gautland, and 

XXXIV The Story of Magnus the Good. 45 

sithence to see the King of the Swedes. But 
King Magnus went on to Fion, and let burn and 
rob there for a many. All Svein's men who were 
there fled away far and wide. So saith Thiodolf : 

From oaken walls wind whirleth 
The gleeds aloft in Rook-land; 
The fire all wrought to madness 
Is playing in the Southland. 
Homestead in Fion flames higher 
By the half, and roof and bark-thatch 
Thole need above the dwellers. 
The Northmen halls are burning. 

Web-Gefn, this have Svein's men 
To mind them of, and ken it 
Sithence they fought three man-motes 
With the men of the Frey of battle. 
In Fion we hope fair women ; 
On then 'midst din of weapons, 
All in our ranks arrayed ! 
Behoves us redden weapons. 

After this all folk in Denmark went under King 
Magnus. Then was there good peace through 
the latter lot of the winter, and King Magnus set 
his men to ruling all throughout the land in Den- 
mark. But when the spring wore, he fared his 
war-host north into Norway, and tarried there 
much long through the summer. 


BUT when Svein heard that he rode forth- 
with out to Skaney, and had much folk 
out of the Swede-realm, and the Skanings 
took him well ; wherefore he grew strong in folk. 

46 The Saga Library. XXXIV 

Sithence he fared west over to Sealand, and laid it 
under him, and Fion withal, and all the islands. 

But when King Magnus heard that, he gathered 
him together strength of men and ships, and held 
sithence south for Denmark. He heard where Svein 
lay with his host ; then held King Magnus to meet 
him, and their meeting befell there where it is 
hight Holy-ness, and that was at evening of day. 
And when it came to battle King Magnus had the 
less company, but bigger ships and better manned. 
So saith Arnor the earls' skald : 

Now widely have I heard it, 
That Holy-ness 'twas hight there, 
Where the far-famed wolf-gladdener 
Full many a seas' elk ridded. 
Bade at the dusk's beginning 
The pine of the wind of troll-wife 
Lock shields ; the rain of the fight-cloud 
Held through a night of autumn. 

The fight was of the sharpest, but as the night 
wore on, mickle grew the fall of folk. King 
Magnus shot hand-shot all night long. Hereof 
Thiodolf telleth : 

By Holy-ness hight yonder 
The folk of Svein, they louted 
Before the spears ; bane-worthy 
There sank the wounded warriors. 
Meet lord of Meres he held there 
In thong full many a sling-spear ; 
Land-ruler eager reddened 
The ash-be-steadied dart-point. 

That is the speediest to tell of this battle, that 
King Magnus had the victory, but Svein fled; his 

XXXIV The Story of Magnus the Good. 47 

ship was rid from stem to stern, and all other ships 
of Svein were rid. So saith Thiodolf : 

Folk-friend, away the earl fled 
Thence from his ship all empty, 
There where to Svein King Magnus 
Wrought the hurt-laden murder. 
There did the host-king redden 
In gore the edge of Hneitir ; 
On whetted brand blood spouted. 
For his own land the king fought. 

And further says Arnor : 

The king, the fierce to Skanings, 
Took there of Biorn's brother 
All ships around ; and rowed on 
That tide the warriors thither. 

There fell much folk of Svein's men, and the 
king and his men gat great plunder to share. So 
saith Thiodolf : 

A Gaulish shield from battle 
Bore I, and byrny therewith. 
That was my lot : that summer 
Strong sword-din was in Southland. 
There where the king hard-fashioned 
Beat Danes, I gat fair weapons. 
Gat shield but I have erewhile 
Told thee this, O mild lady ! 

Therewith Svein fled up unto Skaney, and all 
that host of his which got away ; but King 
Magnus and his host drove the flight far up 
inland, and then was there but little withstanding 
from Svein's men or the bonders. So saith 

Bade Olaf's son but lately 
To fall upon the land there ; 

48 The Saga Library. XXXIV 

Magnus with mickle man-worth 
From off the ships went angry. 
The swift king bade the harrying : 
In Denmark here is turmoil ; 
O'er howes hard run the horses 
In western parts of Skaney. 

Sithence King Magnus let fare the war-shield 
all over the countryside. So saith Thiodolf : 

Now Northmen take to push on 
The Magnus' banners ; wend we 
Anigh the staves : not seldom 
On side my war-shield bear I. 
Even the shambling speeds not 
With faltering foot o'er Skaney 
To Lundward ; and meseemeth 
Few roads are found more fairer. 

Then they fell to burning the built country, 
and all folk fled away far and wide. So saith 
Thiodolf : 

Full well we bare the irons 
Ice-cold against the earl's folk ; 
Fair houses of the Skanings 
Now speedily they tumble. 
Fierce plays the ruddy fire 
O'er broad towns at our rede now ; 
But the up-blowers eager, 
That trouble are they wielding. 

The king with an host most mighty 
Wastes the built-land of Dane-realm ; 
Bright fire burns its keenest 
About abodes of men-folk. 
The warrior worn fight-weary 
Bears shield o'er Denmark's upland ; 
The victory gat we : Svein's men, 
Wounded they run before us. 

Now let be spurned, O Firth-lord, 
Fion's field of old betrodden ! 

XXXV The Story of Magnus the Good. 49 

Little from me is hidden 
'Twixt the hosts of the two shieldings. 
Now fare up on this morning 
Banners a many : Svein's men, 
E'en they who run, will nowise 
Gainsay great deeds to Magnus. 

Then Svein fled to the eastward of Skaney, but 
King Magnus went to his ships, and sithence held 
east round Skaney-side, and had to array all things 
in hot haste. Then sang Thiodolf this : 

Nought else have I for drinking 
But this sea, as the king I follow ; 
Suck I my drink to swallow 
From out the salted sea-flood. 
Now Skaney-side before us 
Lies wide : hard have we toiled 
For the king, but little fear we 
Those churls there of the Swede-folk. 

Svein fled up into Gautland, and then sithence 
sought to the meeting of the Swede-king, and 
tarried with him through the winter in good enter- 


KING MAGNUS turned back on his jour- 
ney when he had laid under him all 
Skaney ; and first he held for Falster, 
and made there onset, and harried there, and slew 
a much folk which had before gone under Svein. 
So saith Arnor : 

Unstinting the All-wielder 
Repaid the Danes their treason ; 
V. E 

50 The Saga Library. XXXVI 

The stout-heart king let fall there 
The host of the folk of Falster. 
The young wealth-thorn up-laded 
Full heavy heaps of slaughter 
For the ernes, but high the courtmen 
Stood by the eagles' feeder. 

Sithence King Magnus held his host to Fion, 
and harried there, and wrought there then mickle 
war-work. So saith Arnor the earls' skald : 

Reddened the ring-sark's dyer 
Once more in Fion bright banners ; 
That land sought the lord of people. 
From him must folk bear robbing. 
Let folk mind which of warriors 
Filled second ten of life-years 
As gainful for blue ravens ! 
An eager heart the king had. 


THAT winter King Magnus sat in Den- 
mark, and then was a good peace. He 
had had many battles in Denmark, and 
got the victory in all. Odd, the Kikina-skald, 
sayeth thus : 

Stour metal-grim was waged 
Ere Michaelmas : the Wends fell, 
And much therewith the people 
Grew wont to the voice of weapons. 
But yet was a brunt but doubtful 
To the south of Riveroyce there, 
A little ere the Yule-tide 
Grim war with wights upheaved. 

And further says Arnor : 

XXXVII The Story of Magnus the Good. 51 

Gattest thou, O Olaf's venger, 

Stuff for song ; now shall the lay wax. 

Hlokk's hawks lett'st thou drink the corpse-stream ; 

Such shall I make things to tell of. 

Waster keen of seat of shield-reed, 

Shaft-storms four in but one winter 

Hast thou wrought : therefor, All-wielder, 

Art thou called full unyielding. 

Three battles King Magnus had with Svein 
Wolfson. So says Thiodolf : 

Held with good luck was battle 
As Magnus willed ; brunt-raiser 
The hap now giveth to me 
Of victory to rehearse me. 
The Thrander's king brand reddened : 
Syne bare he through three host-fights 
Unceasing higher war-shield 
To pay aback his foemen. 


KING MAGNUS now ruled both over 
Denmark and Norway. But after that 
he had gotten the Dane-realm, he sent 
messengers west to England, who went to see 
King Edward, and brought him letters and the seal 
thereon of King Magnus. But this stood on these 
letters, along with the greeting of King Magnus : 
" Thou wilt have heard of that covenant which 
we, Hordaknut and I, made between us, that he 
of us twain who should outlive the other, sonless, 
should take land and thanes which the other had 
owned. Now hath it so betid, as I wot ye have 

52 The Saga Library. XXXIX 

heard, that I have taken the Dane-realm as heri- 
tage after Hordaknut ; but he had, when he died, 
no less of England than Denmark ; we claim 
therefore that I have England after right covenant. 
Now I will that thou give up the realm to me, or 
otherwise I shall seek thereto by might of host, 
both from Dane-realm and Norway, and then let 
him rule over the lands to whom the victory shall 
be fated." 


BUT when King Edward had read this 
letter, he answered thus : 
" That is known unto all men here in 
the land that King ^Ethelred, my father, was 
heritage-born unto this realm both from of old and 
new. We were four sons of his ; but when he 
was fallen from his lands, took realm and kingship 
Edmund my brother, whereas he was the oldest 
of us brethren, and well content I was therewith, 
whiles he lived. But after him took the realm 
Knut, my stepfather, and that was not easy to 
claim whiles he lived. But after him was Harald, 
my brother, king whiles life was fated to him. 
But when he was dead then ruled Hordaknut, my 
brother, over the Dane-realm, and deemed it the 
only right brother-sharing between us, that he 
should be king both over England and Denmark, 
but I had no dominion to rule over. Now, he 
died, and it was the mind of all the folk here in 
the land to take me for king here in England. 

XXXIX The Story of Magnus the Good. 53 

But while I bore no title of dignity, I did no more 
service to my lords than such men who had no 
birthright to the realm here. Now I have taken 
here the ordination of a king, and kingship as full 
as my father had before me, and that name shall I 
not give up whiles I live. But if King Magnus 
come hither to the land with his host, then will I 
not gather host against him ; he will have that 
choice, to make England his own, and to take me 
first from my life-days. Tell ye him this my word." 
So the messengers went back and met King 
Magnus, and told him all their errand. The king 
answered slowly, and spake thus : " I think that 
were meetest and best befallen, to let King Edward 
have his realm in quiet for me, but to hold this 
realm which God has made me to own." 




HARALD, the son of Sigurd Sow, and 
brother to King Olaf the Holy by the 
same mother, was at Sticklestead in the 
battle whenas the holy King Olaf fell. There 
Harald was wounded and got away with the other 
fleeing men. So saith Thiodolf : 

Heard I that the keen shield-storm 
On the king anigh Howe drifted, 
The burner of the Bulgars, 
There well availed his brother. 
He, prince but of twelve winters 
And three thereto then aged, 
From Olaf dead unwilling 
Sundered, and hid the helm-seat. 

Rognvald, son of Brusi, brought Harald out of 
the battle, and got him to a certain bonder's who 
dwelt in a wood far away from other men, and 
there Harald was leeched until he was whole. 
Sithence the bonder's son followed him east over 
the Keel, and they fared all by the woodland ways 
where they might, but nought the highways. The 

58 The Saga Library. II 

bonder's son wotted nought who he was whom he 
was guiding, and as they rode amongst certain 
wildwoods, Harald sang this : 

Now I but little honoured 
From wood to wood go creeping, 
And yet who wotteth, soothly, 
But at last I wax wide-famed. 

He fared east over lamtland and Helsingland, 
and so to Sweden, and there happened on Rognvald, 
son of Brusi, and on a great many others of those 
men of King Olaf as had gotten them from 
Sticklestead out of the battle. 


THE next spring they got them ships and 
went in the summer east into Garthrealm, 
to meet King Jarisleif, and were there 
through the winter. So saith Bolverk : 

The sword's mouth, king, thou stroked'st 
When thou leftest battle ; mad'st thou 
Of raw flesh full the raven. 
The wolf howled in the mountain. 
But the next year east in Garthrealm 
Wert thou, king stubborn-hearted. 
Ne'er heard we of peace-waster 
Waxing more famed than wert thou. 

King Jarisleif gave good welcome to Harald 
and his, and Harald became sithence captain over 
the land-warders of the king ; and another was 
Eilif, son of Earl Rognvald. As Thiodolf says : 

Ill TheStory of Harald the Hard-redy. 59 

Of one thing busied 
Were captains twain, 
Whereas sat Eilif : 
The wedge-host ranked they. 
Thrust were the East Wends 
Into the strait crook. 
Nought light unto Lesjars 
Was the law of the host-men. 

Harald tarried certain winters in Garthrealm 
and fared wide about the East-ways. Then he 
arrayed him to fare out into Greenland, and had 
mickle company of men ; and thence he went to 
Micklegarth. So saith Bolverk : 

Hard drave the chilly shower 

The swart ship's bows by the land-side ; 

But there the barks be-byrnied 

Bore bravely up their rigging. 

Before the bows the meet king 

Saw Micklegarth's bright metals. 

There board-fair ships a many 

Toward the burg's high wing swept onward. 


AT that time there ruled over Greekland 
Queen Zoe the Rich, and with her Michael 
Katalaktus. And when Harald came to 
Micklegarth to see the queen, he took war-service 
there, and went forthwith that same autumn on 
board galleys with those warriors who fared out 
into Greekland's sea, and Harald held the com- 
pany of his own men. Then was captain over 
the host the man who is named Gyrgir ; he was 
kinsman of the queen. 

60 The Saga Library. IV 

But Harald had been for but a little while in 
the host when the Vserings drew them much to 
him, and they would fare all together whenso were 
battles, and it came to this that Harald became 
captain over all the Vserings. He and Gyrgir 
fared wide about the isles of Greekland, and 
wrought mighty deeds of war on the corsairs. 


ON a time when they had fared over land 
and were to take night-harbour by certain 
woods, the Vaerings came first to the 
night-stead, and chose for themselves tent-stead 
where they saw it best and lying highest ; for 
there was the lie of the land in such wise, that it 
was soft, and as soon as rain cometh, there is but 
ill abiding-place where the land lieth low. Then 
came Gyrgir, the captain of the host, and saw 
where the Vaerings had pitched their tents ; so 
he bade them go their ways and tent them other- 
where, saying that he will tent him there. 

Harald answered thus : " When ye be first-come 
to a night-abode, then ye take up your night-stead 
there, and we must then tent us in another stead, 
such as liketh us. So now do ye likewise ; pitch 
your tents in another place where ye wil 1. I deemed 
it would be a right of the Vaerings here within the 
realm of the King of the Greeks, that they should 
be masters of their own matter, and be free in all 
matters before all men, and be bound in service to 
the king only and the queen." They wrangled 

IV The Story of Har aid the Hard-redy. 61 

hereover with high words until both sides donned 
their weapons, and they were on the very point of 
coming to blows. Then came thereto the wisest 
men and sundered them, saying that it was a 
seemlier thing that they should come to peace on 
this matter, and settle between them clearly, so 
that no more there should be need of such strife. 
So then there was a meeting agreed between 
them, and manned with the best men and the 
wisest. And at this meeting they so areded it 
that all were of one mind as to this, that lots 
should be borne into skirt, and lots should be 
drawn between Greeks and Vaerings, which should 
ride first or row, or berth them in haven, or 
choose tent-stead : each side should be content 
as the lot said. 

Sithence were lots made and marked. Then 
said Harald to Gyrgir : "I will see howthou hast 
marked thy lot, that we may not both mark our 
lots in one and the same way." And Gyrgir did 
so. Sithence Harald marked his lot and cast it 
into the skirt, and so both of them. But the man 
who should draw the lots took up one and held it 
between his fingers, and turned up his hand, and 
said : " These shall first ride, or row, and berth 
them in haven, and choose tent-stead." Harald 
gripped his hand and took the lot and cast it out 
into the sea, and said : " This was our lot." 
Gyrgir said : " Why lettedst thou not more men 
see it?" "See thou now," said Harald, "to 
the one left ; and thou wilt ken there thy mark." 

Sithence was that lot scanned, and all knew 
thereon the mark of Gyrgir. So that was doomed, 

62 The Saga Library. V 

that the Vserings should have the allotted choices 
about all that they had been striving over. 

More matters still befell whereon they were not 
at one, but ever they closed so, that Harald had 
his own way. 


THEY fared all together in the summer 
and harried. And whenas all the host 
was gathered together, Harald let his men 
be without the battle, or else there whereas the 
man-risk was least, and gave out that he would be 
wary of losing his warfolk. But when he was alone 
with his band, he laid him so fast to the fighting, 
that one of two things should be, either that he 
should get the victory or his bane. Often it so 
fell out, when Harald was captain over the host, 
that he won the victory whenas Gyrgir won it not. 
This the warriors found, and said that their matter 
would fare better, if Harald were sole captain over 
the host, and they laid blame on the war-duke, 
and said that nought came of him nor his com- 
pany. Gyrgir said, that the Vaerings would give him 
no aid, and he bade them go elsewhere, and he would 
go with the rest of the host, and win what they 
might. Then fared Harald from the host, and 
with him the Vaerings and the Latins, but Gyrgir 
fared with the host of the Greeks. And now it 
was seen what each might do ; Harald ever 
gained victory and wealth, but the Greeks fared 
home to Micklegarth, out-taken young lads, such 

V The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 63 

as were minded to get them wealth. They gathered 
to Harald, and these now had him for war-duke. 
So now he went with his host west to Africa, 
which the Vaerings call Serkland, and then gained 
a great strength to his host. In Serkland he won 
eighty burgs ; some were given up, but some he 
took by might. Then he went to Sicily. So says 

Eight tens of towns thou mayst say 
In Serkland then were taken : 
Young hater of the worm-place 
Gleed-red, himself imperilled ; 
Or e'er the host-arrayer, 
The risk to Serk-men, wended 
'Neath shield to raise hard Hild-play 
In Sicily the level. 

So saith Illugi, the Bryndalers' skald : 

Harald, thou brakest Southlands 
With shields 'neath noblest Michael ; 
The son of Budli heard we 
His sons-in-law bade homeward. 

Here it is said that then was Michael King of 
the Greeks at this time. 

Harald tarried for many years west in Africa, 
and got exceeding much chattels, gold, and all 
kinds of dear-goods. But all the wealth he got, 
and did not need to have for his own cost, he sent 
with trusty men of his north to Holmgarth, to the 
keeping and warding of King Jarisleif, and there 
was drawn together exceeding wealth, as was like 
to be, seeing that he was harrying that deal of the 
world which was the wealthiest of gold and dear- 
goods, and so mickle as he did thereat, as has 

64 The Saga Library. VI 

been soothly said afore, that he will have won to 
himself eighty burgs. 


BUT when Harald came to Sicily he harried 
there, and laid his host to a certain town, 
mickle and of much people. He sat 
down before it, whereas the walls were strong, so 
that it seemed to him doubtful if he might break 
them down. The townsfolk had victuals enough, 
and other havings such as they needed for the 

Then he sought this rede, that his fowlers took 
small fowl which nested in the town, but flew 
into the woods by day to take their meat. Harald 
let bind on the back of the fowl shavings of fir- 
tree, and cast therein wax and brimstone, and let 
set fire thereto. Flew the fowl, so soon as they 
were loose, all at once into the town to see to their 
nestlings and dwellings which they had in the 
house-thatches, which were thatched of reed or 
straw ; thus caught the fire from the fowl on to the 
house- thatches. And though each one bore but 
a little burden of fire, yet waxed thence speedily 
mickle fire, since many fowls bare it wide about 
the town into the thatch ; and thereupon burnt one 
house after the other until the town was all a-low. 
Then all the folk came forth out of the town and 
prayed mercy, even those same who had for many 
a day before spoken proudly and mockingly to 
the Greek host and the captain thereof. Harald 

VI I The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 65 

gave quarter to anyone who prayed therefor, and 
sithence got the town into his power. 


ANOTHER burg there was whereto Harald 
made with his host. It was both much 
peopled and strong, so that there was no 
hope that they might break it. Fields hard and 
level lay all about the town. Then let Harald 
take to digging a dyke from where fell a brook 
through so deep a ghyll that none might see into 
it from the town. They flitted the mould into the 
water, and let the stream bear it away. They were at 
this work both day and night by shifts of companies. 
But every day the host fell on the town from 
without ; but the townsmen went out into the 
battlements, and each shot at the other, but anights 
they slept both. But when Harald knew that the 
earth-house was so long that it would be come in 
under the burg wall, then let he his host weapon 
them. It was against day that they went into the 
earth-house, and when they came to the end they 
dug up over their heads, until stones were in the 
way set in lime ; that was the floor of a stone hall. 
Then they broke up the floor and went up into 
the hall. There sat before them a many of the 
townsmen, eating and drinking, and that was to 
them the greatest of wolves unwist ; for the Vaerings 
went up there with drawn swords, and straightway 
slew some, and othersome fled, such as might bring 
that about. The Vaerings sought after them, and 
v. F 

66 The Saga Library. VIII 

some took the town gates and unlocked them, and 
thereby went in the whole multitude of the host. 
But when they came into the burg, then fled the 
burg-folk ; but many prayed peace, and all got 
that who gave themselves up. In this wise 
Harald gat the town to him, and therewith ex- 
ceeding wealth. 


ON the third town they came, which was 
the most of all these, and the strongest, 
and the richest of chattels and folk. 
Round this town there were big ditches ; so that 
they saw that they might not prevail there by the 
same-like wiles as with the burgs before. They lay 
there much long, in such wise that they got nought 

But when the townsfolk saw that, they plucked 
up boldness thereat. They set up their array on 
the burg walls, and then opened the burg gates 
and whooped at the Vserings, and egged them on, 
and bade them go into the town, and mocked the 
hearts of them, and said that they were no better 
for battle than so many hens. 

Harald bade his men go on as if they wotted 
not what they said. " We do nothing thereto," said 
he, " though we run to the town. They will bring 
their weapons on us beneath their feet ; and 
although we get into the town with a certain folk, 
yet have they might to pen inside as many as they 
will, and keep the others out, whereas they have 

IX The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 67 

set watches over all the town gates. Now we 
shall do them no less mockery, and let them see 
that we dread them not. Our men shall go forth 
into the meads as nigh to the town as may be, and 
yet take heed not to go within shot of them. Our 
men shall fare all weaponless and make them sports, 
and let the townsmen see this, that we heed not 
their array." So then this went on for some days. 


OF Iceland men who went there with 
Harald are named, Haldor, the son of 
Snorri the Priest, who brought this tale 
hither to the land ; the other was Wolf, son of 
Uspak, son of Usvif the Wise. Both they were 
the strongest of men, and all-bold under weapon, 
and were both of the dearest with Harald. They 
were both in the sports. 

Now when matters had gone this way for some 
days, the townsfolk wished to beard them still 
more, and went without weapons upon the walls 
of the town, leaving yet the town gates to stand 
open. Now when the Vserings saw this, they so 
went to their sports one day, that they had swords 
under their cloaks and helms under their hats. 
But when they had been playing for a while, and 
saw that the townsfolk wondered nought, they 
took their weapons swiftly and ran up to the town 
gate. And when the townspeople saw that, the}' 
went well against them and had all their weapons ; 
and there befell battle in the town gate. The 

68 The Saga Library. X 

Vaerings had no shielding armour, save that they 
wrapped their mantles round the left arm ; so they 
got wounded, and some fell, and all were hard 

Now Harald with the host that was with him in 
the camp sought thereto to give help to his men. 
But by then the townsfolk were come up on the 
town walls, and shot and stoned them, and a hard 
battle befell there, and it seemed to them who 
were in the gate that the others went slower to 
help them than they would. And when Harald 
came to the gate his banner-bearer fell, and he 
said : " Haldor, take thou up the banner." Haldor 
answered and took up the banner-staff, and he 
spoke unwisely : " Who will bear banner before 
thee, if thou follow so softly as thou hast done 
now for a while ? " But this was more a word of 
wrath than of truth, for Harald was the boldest 
under weapons. 

So therewith they sought into the town; there 
was the battle hard, but such was the end of it, 
that Harald got the victory and won the town. 
Haldor was much hurt, and had a mickle wound 
in the face, and that was a blemish to him all the 
days of his life. 


NOW there was a fourth town whereto 
Harald came with his host, and that was 
the greatest of all those that are afore- 
said, and so strong was it, that there was no hope 

X The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 69 

that they might break it. So they sat about the 
town, and beset it in such wise that no goods 
could be flitted thereinto. But when they had 
tarried here for a little while, Harald fell sick and 
lay abed. He let set his land- tent away from the 
other land-tents, for he deemed it for ease not to 
hear the noise and din of the host. His men 
whiles came to and fro him in flocks, asking him 
for counsel. 

That saw the townsmen, that some new thing 
was toward amongst the Vserings, and they sent 
spies to find out what would be the matter. But 
when the spies came back to the town, they had 
the tidings to tell, that the captain of the Vaerings 
was sick, and therefore there was no falling on the 

Now when this had been going on a while, 
then minished the might of Harald, and then his 
men grew much mind-sick and downcast ; and of 
all this the townsmen heard. 

So it came to this, that the sickness was so 
heavy on Harald, that his death was told of 
throughout all the host. Sithence the Vaerings 
fared to a talk with the townsfolk, and told them 
of the death of their captain, and prayed that the 
clerks would give him burial within the town. 
But when the townsfolk heard these tidings, there 
were many that ruled over cloisters and other big 
churches in the town ; these would each fain have 
that body to his church, whereas they wotted that 
there would follow it right mickle wealth. So all 
the multitude of the clerks arrayed them, and 
walked out of the town with shrines and holy 

jo The Saga Library. XI 

relics, and made a right fair procession. But the 
Vserings withal made up a great lyke-faring, and 
the lyke-chest was borne high, tilted over with 
pall, and many banners borne thereover. But 
when this was borne in through the town gate, 
they let fall the chest right athwart the gate over 
against the doors thereof; and the Vaerings blew 
a war-blast in all their trumpets, and drew their 
swords, and all the Vaering host rushed therewith 
out of the camp, with all weapons, and ran to- 
wards the town with shouts and whooping. But 
the monks and other clerks who had gone out in 
this lyke-fare, and strove each with the other, and 
would be first to go out and to take the offering, 
were now half as eager again to be as far as might 
be away from the Vserings, for they smote down 
each one who was nearest to them, whether he 
were learned or lewd. The Vaerings went so 
about all this town that they slew the men-folk, 
and robbed all churches in the town, and seized 
there untold-of wealth. 


HARALD was many winters in this war- 
fare now told of, both in Serkland and in 
Sicily. Sithence he fared back to Mickle- 
garth with his host, and tarried there but a little 
while ere he arrayed his journey out to Jerusalem- 
world. Then he left behind all the wage-gold from 
the Greek-king, he and all the Vserings withal, who 
betook them to the journey with him. So it is 

XII The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 7 1 

said, that in all these journeys Harald fought 
eighteen folk-battles. So says Thiodolf : 

This wots the folk, that Harald 
Hath wrought of brunts of battle 
Eighteen all grim : peace often 
For this king hath been broken. 
Famed king in blood thou reddened'st 
Sharp claws of dusky eagle, 
Before thou fared'st hither. 
Where cam'st thou, wolf gat feasting. 


HARALD went with his host out to 
Jerusalem - land, and sithence up to 
Jerusalem -town ; but wheresoever he 
fared over Jerusalem-land all towns and castles 
were given up to his wielding. So says Stuf the 
Skald, who had heard the king himself tell these 
tidings : 

The edge-bold stout-heart fared 

Jerusalem to conquer, 

The upper land was friendly 

To the Greeks and slaughter-wreaker. 

By might enow the land came 

Unburned into the handling 

Of the hardener of the battle. 

Let the soul of mighty Harald . . . 

Here it is said that this land came unburnt and 
unharried into the power of Harald. He then 
went out to Jordan and bathed him there, as is 
the way of other palmers. Harald bestowed a 
great wealth on the Grave of the Lord and the 

72 The Saga L ibrary. XIII 

Holy Cross and other holy relics in Jerusalem- 
land. Then he made safe the road all out to 
Jordan, and slew robbers and other harrying folk. 
So saith Stuf : 

The rede and wrath, so word ran, 
Of the king of the Agdir-people 
Withstood the wiles of men-folk 
On either bank of Jordan. 
But for true trespass people 
Paid ill at the king's hands ; soothly 
Into sooth peril gat they 
Abide where well it liketh . . . 

Then fared he back to Micklegarth. 


WHEN AS Harald was come to Mickle- 
garth from Jerusalem-land, he longed to 
fare back to the North-lands to his 
heritage ; for he had then heard it that Magnus 
Olafson, his brother's son, had become King of 
Norway and of Denmark withal ; so he gave word 
to leave his service to the King of the Greeks. 
But when Queen Zoe was ware thereof, she grew 
full of wrath, and hove up guilts against Harald, 
and told that he would have misdealt with the 
Greek-king's wealth which had been gotten in 
warfare, whenas Harald had been captain over the 

Now there was a may, young and fair, hight 
Maria ; she was brother's daughter to Queen Zoe, 
and that may had Harald wooed, but the queen 

XIV The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 73 

had naysaid it. So have said Vaerings north here, 
they who have been at wage in Micklegarth, that 
this tale was had there of men who knew, how that 
Queen Zoe would herself have Harald to her 
husband, and that that was the guilt most told 
against Harald, when he would fare away from 
Micklegarth, though other matters were upborne 
before all folk. At that time Constantine Mono- 
machus was King of the Greeks, and ruled the 
realm along with Queen Zoe. For these causes 
the King of the Greeks let lay hand on Harald, and 
do him into prison. 


BUT when Harald came hard on the prison, 
then showed himself to him the holy King 
Olaf, and said that he would help him. And 
there in the street was sithence made a chapel and 
hallowed to King Olaf, and there has that chapel 
stood sithence. The prison was made this way, 
that there is a tower, high, and open at the top, 
and a door from the street to go thereinto. Therein 
was Harald cast, and with him Haldor and Wolf. 
The next night thereafter came a rich woman to 
the top of the prison, and had got up by certain 
ladders, she and her two servant-men. They let 
sink down a rope into the prison, and hauled them 
up. To this woman the holy Olaf had done boot 
erewhile, and had now shown himself to her in 
a vision to the end that she should loose his brother 
out of prison. Forthwith Harald fared to the 

74 The Saga Library. XV 

Vaerings, and they all stood up to meet him and 
greeted him well. Sithence all the whole host 
weaponedthem, and went to where the king slept ; 
they lay hands on the king and sting out both his 
eyes; so says Thorarin Skeggison the Skald in his 
drapa : 

The fierce king gained the hand-gleeds, 
But the throned King of Greekland 
Went with a hurt most grievous, 
And stone-blind was he thenceforth. 

So says Thiodolf the Skald : 

The waster of wolves' sorrow 

Let sting out both the eyen 

Of the throne-king ; then and there was 

Beginning of the stir-days. 

The Agdir-folks' all-wielder 

In the East a mark full grisly 

Laid on the valiant kaiser ; 

111 way the Greek-king fared. 

In these two drapas on Harald,and in many other 
songs on him it is told that Harald himself blinded 
the Greek-king ; a duke or a count or other noble 
man might be named hereto, if they wotted that 
that were truer ; but Harald himself brought this 
story, and those other men who were there with 


THAT same night Harald and his went to 
the chambers wherein Maria lay asleep, 
and took her away by might. Then they 
went to the galleys of the Vserings and took two 

XV The Story of HaraldtheHard-redy. 75 

galleys, and rowed sithence into Seawoodsound. 
But when they came there whereas the iron 
chains lay right athwart the sound, then spake 
Harald, and bade men fall to the oars on either 
galley, but those who did not row should all run 
aft in the galley, and each should have in his arms 
his baggage-bag. So ran the galleys up on to 
the chains. But so soon as they were fast, and lost 
way, then bade he all men run forward. Then that 
galley whereon was Harald plunged forward and 
leapt off the chain, a-riding it, but the other 
brake as it rode the chain, and many men were 
lost, but some were saved swimming. Thereby 
Harald gat him out of Micklegarth, and so into 
the Black Sea. But before he sailed away from 
the land, he set the young maid ashore, and gave 
her a good following back to Micklegarth, and 
bade her tell Zoe, her kinswoman, how much 
might she had over Harald, or how much the 
queen's might had withstood it, that he should 
get the maiden. 

Then sailed Harald north into Ellipalta, and 
fared thence all over the East-realm. In these 
journeys Harald wrought certain merry verses ; 
there are sixteen of them altogether, and one 
ending to all. This is one : 

Past Sicily the hull swept 
Wide out ; there the swift poop's-hart 
'Neath lads glode well, as like was ; 
And O ! but we were proud then. 
Yet wot I that but little 
Shall laggard there bestir him ; 
Yet still the Gerd of gold-ring 
In Garths lets scorn upon me. 

76 The Saga Library. XVI-XVII 

This he pointed to Ellisif, daughter of Jarisleif, 
King in Holmgarth. 


BUT when Harald came to Holmgarth, 
King Jarisleif gave him a wondrous good 
welcome, and there he tarried the winter 
over, and took into his own keeping all the gold 
which he had sent afore thither from Micklegarth, 
and many kinds of dear-goods. That was so mickle 
wealth, that no man in northern lands had seen 
such in one man's owning. Harald had three 
times come into palace-spoil whiles he was in 
Micklegarth. For that is law, that whenever the 
King of the Greeks dies the Vserings shall have 
palace-spoil ; they shall then go over all the king's 
palaces where are his wealth hoards, and there 
each one shall freely have for his own whatso he 
may lay hands on. 


THAT winter King Jarisleif gave unto 
Harald to wife his daughter, hight Eliza- 
beth, whom the Northmen call Ellisif. 
This witnesseth Stuf the Blind : 

All-wielder of folk of Agdir, 

The battle bounteous, gat him 

His wished mate ; took the men's friend 

Gold plenty and king's daughter. 

XVIII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 77 

But towards spring he arrayed his journey out 
of Holmgarth, and fared that spring to Aldeigia- 
burg, and got him ships there, and sailed away from 
the east in the summer ; he turned first unto 
Sweden and hove into Sigtun. So saith Valgard 
of the Mead : 

Thou shooted'st out ship, Harald, 
'Neath fairest freight ; thou flitted'st 
Gold bottomless from Eastlands, 
From Garths ; fame give men to thee. 
Aye-doughty king, thou steered'st 
Sharp through the hard storm onward, 
But the ships bowed ; there thou sawest 
Sigtun when lulled the sea-drift. 


THERE found Harald Svein Wolfson that 
autumn ; he had fled away from King 
Magnus at Holy-ness. But when they 
met, each greeted the other well. Olaf the Swede, 
King of Sweden, was mother's father to Ellisif, the 
wife of Harald ; but Astrid, the mother of Svein, 
was sister to King Olaf. There made Harald and 
Svein fellowship together, and bound it with privy 
covenant. All Swedes were friends of Svein, 
whereas he had his mightiest kindred in that land. 
And then became all Swedes friends of Harald 
withal, and his helpful men, and many mighty men 
there were knit to him by affinity. So says 

Oak-keel cut heavy waters 
From Garths all out of Eastlands, 

78 The Saga Library. XIX 

Brisk land-ruler ! All Swede-folk 
Sithence were standing by thee. 
Mad storm fell on the lord-king, 
The ship of Harald reeling 
On swollen lee-board sped under 
Broad sail with gold a-mickle. 


SITHENCE they betook them on board ship, 
Harald and Svein, and speedily a great 
host drew to them, and when that host was 
arrayed, they sailed from the east to Denmark. 
So saith Valgard : 

Sithence, O fight-blithe Yngvi, 
The oak tossed underneath thee 
In the sea all out from Sweden : 
Right heritage was doomed thee. 
Rib-hound around flat Skaney 
Was borne, when ran ye straightway 
Before the wind ; the ships scared 
The maids nigh sib to Danemen. 

They first hove into Sealand, and harried there 
and burnt wide about. Then they held over to 
Fion, and went aland there and harried? So says 
Valgard : 

Harald, thou didst do harry 

All Selund. King, thou thrustest 

Thy foes aback ; the wolf ran 

Swift to go see the slaughtered. 

The many-manned king wended 

Up on to Fion, and gat there 

For helms no little labour ; 

The sheared shield brake full greatly. 

XX The Story of Haraldthe Hard-redy. 79 

Bright fire burned in the town there 
Of Roskild in the South-land ; 
The nimble king there let he 
Smoke-belcher fell down houses. 
Enough of landsmen lay low ; 
Belied the fetters freedom 
To some ; the households woeful 
To the woods all silent dragged them. 

The folk ill-sundered tarried ; 
For the Danes that lived thereafter 
Away they drifted thenceforth, 
But caught were the fair women. 
Lock held the woman's body ; 
Before thee many a woman 
Went to the ships : the fetters 
The bright skin bit full fiercely. 


the autumn north into Norway after the 
fight at Holy-ness. Then heard he the 
tidings that Harald Sigurdson his kinsman had 
come to Sweden, and this moreover, that he and 
Svein Wolfson had made fellowship between them, 
and had out a great host, and were minded to lay 
under them the Dane-realm, and sithence Norway. 
King Magnus bade a war-muster out from Norway, 
and speedily a great host drew to him. Then 
heard he that Harald and Svein were come to 
Denmark, and were burning and bringing to bale- 
fire all things, and that the landsmen went under 
them widely there. And that was said withal, that 
Harald was greater than other men and stronger, 

8o The Saga Library. XXI 

and so wise that nothing was beyond his doing, 
and that ever he had the victory when he fought ; 
so wealthy withal in gold, that nought like it was 
known. So says Thiodolf : 

Now unto stems of sea's hawk 
To hope good peace is risky. 
Of mickle fear the folk wot ; 
Ships off the land there hath he. 
Will hold fight-bounteous Magnus 
From northward steeds of rollers, 
But noble Harald dighteth 
From southward other wave-nags. 


THE men of King Magnus, they who were 
of his counsel, say that it bethinketh 
them as to how matters have come into a 
strait place, if these two kinsmen, Magnus and 
Harald, shall bear bane- spear each after other ; so 
many men offer them hereto to fare and seek after 
peace betwixt them. So from thus talking over 
the thing, the king assented thereto. Then were 
men gotten to man a swift cutter, and they fared 
at their swiftest south to Denmark ; there they gat 
to them Danish men, such as were full-come friends 
of King Magnus, to bear this errand to Harald. 
This business was much privy. 

But when Harald heard it said, that King 
Magnus his kinsman would bid him peace and 
fellowship, and that he should have one half of 
Norway against King Magnus, and each against 

XXII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 81 

the other half of their loose wealth, Harald yea- 
said that bidding. And thus done these privy 
matters went back to King Magnus. 


A LITTLE later it was, that Harald and 
Svein spake on an evening over the drink, 
and Svein asked what precious things 
Harald had, whereby he set the greatest store. 
He answered that it was his banner, Landwaster. 
Then asked Svein what went with the banner 
that it was so mickle dear a thing. Harald said 
it was told of it, that he would have the victory 
before whom the banner was borne, and said that 
even so had it betided sithence he had got that. 
Svein answered : " Then shall I believe that this 
nature goes with the banner, if thou have three 
battles with King Magnus thy kinsman, and have 
the victory in each." Then answered Harald in 
surly wise : " I know the kinship between me 
and King Magnus, though thou mind me not 
thereof; and for all we may fare against each 
other with war-shield aloft, that is nought against 
another fashion of our meeting being seemlier." 
Then Svein changed colour, and said : " This 
will some folk be saying, Harald, that thou hast 
so done before, as to hold to that only of thy 
covenants as seemed to thee would drag thine 
own case most forward." Harald answers : " Less 
cases wilt thou know of my not having held my 
v. G 

82 The Saga Library. XXII 

covenants, than I ween King Magnus will cry 
that he knoweth of thy not having held with him." 
And therewithal each went his way. 

In the evening, when Harald went to sleep in 
the poop of his ship, he spake to his shoe-swain : 
" Now will I not lie in the bed to-night ; whereas 
my mind misgives me that all will not be guileless. 
I found this evening that Svein my uncle-in-law 
was much wroth with my plain speech; so thou 
shalt hold ward thereof, if here be to-night aught 
of tidings." 

Then went Harald into another place to sleep, 
but laid in his bed there a tree-stub. But in the 
night a boat rowed up to the poop ; and a man 
went up aboard there, and lifted the tilt of the 
poop, and sithence went up inside it, and hewed 
into the bed of Harald with a mickle axe, so that 
it stood fast in the tree. The man leapt forthwith 
out into the boat, but pit-mirk it was, and he 
rowed straight away ; but the axe which stood 
fast in the tree was left behind for a token. 
Then Harald waked his men, and let them 
know into what treachery they were come : 
" We may see," said he, " that we have here 
no help in Svein, so soon as he casts himself 
into treason against us ; so will that be the best 
choice, to seek to get away hence while choice 
there is. Let us loose our ships and row away 
by stealth." 

So do they, and row that night north along the 
land ; and they fare day and night, until they met 
King Magnus thereas he lay with his host. Then 
went Harald to meet King Magnus his kinsman, 

XXIII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 83 

and a welcome meeting that was, even as Thiodolf 
says : 

O wide-famed king, thou lettest 
Plough waters with thin shipboard ; 
Clave dear ships flood in Denmark, 
There where from east thou fared'st. 
The son of Olaf bade thee 
Half land, half thanes against him 
Sithence ; there met methinketh 
The kinsmen fain exceeding. 

Thereupon the kinsmen talked matters over 
between themselves, and all that fared in peace- 
yearning wise. 


KING MAGNUS layby the land, and had 
his land-tilt ashore. Bade he to board 
his kinsman Harald, and Harald went 
to the feast with sixty men, and right brave was 
that banquet. But as the day wore, King Magnus 
went into the tent where Harald sat, and with him 
went men bearing burdens, and that was weapons 
and raiment. Then the king went up to the 
outermost man and gave to him a good sword, 
and to the next a shield, then clothes, or 
weapons, or gold ; to them greater who were the 

Sithence he came up before Harald his kins- 
man, and had in his hand two reed-wands, and 
said : " Which of these wands wilt thou take ? " 
Answered Harald : " The one that is nearest me." 

84 The Saga Library. XXIV 

Then spake King Magnus : " With this reed-shoot 
I give thee half Norway-realm, with all dues and 
scat and all the dominion thereto appertaining ; 
with these terms, moreover, that thou shalt be 
king in every place in Norway as rightfully as I 
be. But when we are all together, I shall be the 
first man hailed and served and seated ; whereas 
there be three men of dignity together, I shall sit 
betwixt them ; I shall have king's berth and king's 
bridge. Thou shalt steadfast and strengthen our 
power in this stead, that we have made thee such 
a man in Norway as we had thought none should 
ever be, whiles our head was still up above the 

Then stood Harald up and thanked him well 
for this honour and glory. And so both sat down 
and were right merry. That day in the evening 
went Harald and his men to their ships. 


THE next morning King Magnus let blow 
all his host to a Thing; and when the 
Thing was set, King Magnus made known 
to all men the gift he had given to King Harald 
his kinsman. Thorir of Steig gave the king's 
name to Harald there at the Thing. 

That day King Harald bade King Magnus to 
his board, and he went that day with sixty men to 
the land- tent of King Harald, whereas he had 
arrayed a banquet. There were then both the 
kings amongst the gathered guests, and fair was 

XXIV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 85 

the feast, and the entertainment most brave, and 
the kings were merry and glad. 

But as the day wore, then let Harald the king 
bear a right many bags into the tent ; therewith also 
men bore in clothes and weapons and other kinds 
of precious things, and this wealth he shared, 
and gave and dealt amongst King Magnus' men 
who were then at the feast. Then he let unloose 
the bags, and spake to King Magnus : " Ye gave 
us yesterday mickle dominion which ye had won 
from your unfriends and ours ; but ye took us into 
fellowship with you. This was well done, for ye 
$iave laboured much thereto. So is it, on the other 
hand, that we have been a dweller in outlands, and 
yet have we been in certain man-perils ere I might 
bring together this gold, which ye may now see. 
This will I lay down to the fellowship with you, 
for we shall own all chattels with equal hands, 
even as we each own half the realm of Norway. 
I wot that our mind-shapes are unlike ; whereas 
thou art a much more bountiful man than I am. 
Now this money we shall share between us equally, 
and then each may deal with his share as he will." 

Then Harald let spread abroad a big neat's 
hide, and let pour thereon the gold from the bags ; 
then were scales gotten and weights, and the 
money was parted asunder, and shared all by 
weight ; and all who saw it thought it a mickle 
wonder that in the North-lands so much gold 
should be come together in one place. But, in- 
deed, this was the havings and wealth of the King 
of the Greeks, where, as all men say, houses are 
full of red gold. 

86 The Saga Library. XXIV 

Now were the kings all-merry. Thereupon 
there came forth a certain stoup that was as big as 
a man's head. King Harald took up the stoup, 
and said : " Where is now that gold, kinsman 
Magnus, that thou wouldst bring out to match 
this knop-head ? " 

Then answered King Magnus : " So have un- 
peace and great hostings betid, that well-nigh all 
gold and silver hath gone which was in my ward ; 
and now there is no more gold in my having save 
this ring," and he took the ring, and handed it to 
Harald. He looked at it, and said : " This is 
little of gold, kinsman, for a king of two kingdoms ; 
and yet there may be some who misdoubt it 
whether thou rightly own this ring." 

Then answered King Magnus, heavy of heart : 
" If I own not this ring aright, then wot I not 
what I have rightfully come by, for King Olaf the 
Holy, my father, gave me that ring at the last 

Then King Harald answered, laughing : "Thou 
sayest sooth, King Magnus, thy father gave thee 
the ring ; but he took it from my father for no 
great guilt ; and, forsooth, it was no good times 
for small kings in Norway when thy father was at 
his mightiest." 

King Harald gave to Steig-Thorir at this feast a 
mazer girt with silver, and therewith a silver bowl, 
either gilt, and full up with sheer silver pennies ; 
there went with it two gold rings, and they 
weighed together a mark ; he gave him withal his 
own cloak of brown purple, lined with white skins, 
and benight him mickle honour and his friendship 

XXV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 87 

withal. Thorgils, the son of Snorri, so said that 
he saw the altar-cloth which was made of this 
cloak ; but Gudrid, the daughter of Guthorm 
Thorirson, said that Guthorm her father owned 
the mazer-bowl, so that she saw it. So saith 
Bolverk : 

O foe of gold, the green ground 
Became thine own, so heard I, 
Sithence thou meeted'st Magnus, 
And gold to him thou badest. 
The peace 'twixt you two kinsmen 
All peacefully endured ; 
But Svein, he looked out only 
Sithence for wave of battle. 


KING MAGNUS and King Harald ruled 
both over Norway the next winter after 
their appeasement, and each had his own 
court. In the winter they fared about the Up- 
lands a-feasting, and were whiles both together, 
and whiles each by himself. They fared right 
away north to Thrandheim and to Nidoyce. King 
Magnus had guarded the holy relic of King Olaf 
sithence he came into the land, and clipped his 
hair and nails every twelve months, and had him- 
self the key wherewith the shrine might be un- 
locked. At that time manifold tokens befell at 
the holy relic of King Olaf. 

Soon befell flaws in the concord of the kings, 
and there were many so evil-minded that they 
went in an ill wise between them. 

83 The Saga Library, XXVI-VII 


SVEIN WOLFSON lay behind asleep 
whenas Harald fared away ; sithence Svein 
made speerings about the Tarings of Harald. 
And when he heard that Harald and Magnus had 
made peace between them, and that now they had 
both one host, he held his company east about 
Skaney-side, and tarried there until he heard in 
the winter that King Magnus and King Harald 
had held their host north to Norway. Thereupon 
Svein held his company south to Denmark, and 
that winter he took all the king's dues there to 


BUT when it was spring King Magnus and 
King Harald bade out an hostfrom Norway. 
And on a time it befell that King Magnus 
and King Harald lay one night both in one haven. 
But the next day King Harald was the first 
boun ; and he sailed forthwith. But in the even- 
ing he hove into the haven whereas he and King 
Magnus were minded to be that night. King 
Harald laid his ship in the king's berth, and there 
tented him. King Magnus sailed later in the 
day, and he and his came in such time into 
harbour, as that Harald and his men had already 
tented them ; and saw that Harald had berthed 
his ship in the king's berth, and meant to lie there. 

XXVII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 89 

But when King Magnus and his had struck sail, 
then spake King Magnus : " Let men now graithe 
them to rowing, and sit down end-long the boards ; 
but some undo their weapons, and don them ; and 
if they will not put off, then shall we fight." 

But when King Harald sees that King Magnus 
is minded to give them battle, he said to his men : 
" Hew ye the hawsers, and let us shove the ships 
out of berth ; wroth now is kinsman Magnus." 
So did they, that they laid the ships out of the 
berth, and King Magnus laid his own thereinto. 
When both had dighted them, King Harald went 
with certain men on to the ship of King Magnus. 
The king greeted him well, and bade him wel- 
come. Then answered King Harald : " That 
deemed I, that we were come amidst friends, but 
somewhat I misdoubted me a while, whether ye 
would so let it be ; but sooth is as is said, ' bairns 
mind swift burneth/ wherefore I will account this 
no otherwise than as a child's deed." 

Answered King Magnus : " It was kin-deed, 
not a child's deed, though I should bear in mind 
what I gave and what I had kept back. If this 
little matter were now done in our despite, then 
would soon be another ; but we will hold altogether 
to our covenant such as it was done, and that 
same will we have from you, even as due we 

Then King Harald answered : " It is an old 
custom, that the wisest gives way ; " and therewith 
he went back to his ship. 

In suchlike dealings between the kings it was 
found that hard it was to heed matters. King 

90 The Saga Library. XXVIII 

Magnus' men told that he was in the right, and they 
that were unwise told that Harald had been some- 
what shamed. But King Harald's men said that 
nought otherwise was the agreement than that 
King Magnus should have the berth if they both 
came in at one and the same time, but that Harald 
was not bound to out-berth him if he were berthed 
already ; and they would have it that King Harald 
had done wisely and well. But they, who would 
make it worser, told that King Magnus willed 
to break the covenant, and would have it that he 
had done wrong and dishonour to King Harald. 
From these quarrels there soon wrought such talk 
of unwise men, to such a point that there was dis- 
sension between the kings ; and many things were 
found hereto concerning which the kings thought 
each his own way, though here be but few such 


THIS host King Magnus and King Harald 
held south to Denmark ; and when Svein 
heard thereof he fled away east to Skaney. 
The kings, Magnus and Harald, dwelt a long 
while that summer in Denmark, and laid all the 
land under them. In the autumn they were in 

It befell on a night, whenas King Magnus lay 
in his bed, that he dreamed, and thought he was 
in stead whereas was his father, the holy King 
Olaf ; and he thought he spake to him : " What 

XXVIII Storyof HaraldtheHard-redy. 91 

wilt thou choose now, my son, to fare with me, or 
to be of all kings the mightiest, and live long, and 
do such an ill deed as thou mayest boot scarcely, 
or not at all ? " 

He thought he answered : " I will that thou 
choose for my hand." Then he thought the king 
answered : " Then shalt thou fare with me." 

King Magnus told this dream to his men. But 
a little later he gat sick, and lay abed at a place 
called Southrop. And when he was come anigh 
to his bane, he sent Thorir his brother to Svein 
Wolfson, to bid him that he should give such 
help to Thorir as he might need ; that went with 
the message, that King Magnus gave to Svein 
the Dane-realm after his day. He said that it was 
meet that Harald should rule over Norway and 
Svein over Denmark. 

Then died King Magnus the Good, and was 
right much mourned of all the folk. So saith Odd 
Kikina-skald : 

Much tears dropped men a-bearing 
To grave the king full bounteous ; 
To them was the burden heavy 
Whom with the gold he gifted : 
So wavered hearts, that the house-carles 
Of the king their tears held hardly ; 
Soothly the king's own people 
Sithence is often downcast. 

92 The Saga Library. XXIX 


AFTER these tidings had King Harald a 
Thing with his host, and told men his 
mind, to wit, that he was minded to take 
the host to the Thing of Vebiorg, and let take him 
there to king over the Dane-realm, and sithence win 
the land, and tells it as his heritage from his kins- 
man King Magnus, no less than the realm of 
Norway. He bids the host to strengthen him, 
and gives it out that then would the Northmen be 
masters of the Danes throughout all time. 

Then answered Einar Thambarskelfir, and let 
folk know that he was more bound to flit to grave 
the dead body of King Magnus his fosterson, and 
to bring him to his father King Olaf, than to be 
fighting in the outland, or to be coveting another 
king's realm and havings. So ended his speaking, 
that he deemed it better to follow King Magnus 
dead than any other king alive. Then he let take 
the body and lay it out stately, so that they might 
see the arrayal on board the king's ship. Then 
all the Thrand-folk and Northmen got them ready 
to go home with the body of King Magnus, and 
thus the war-host broke up. Then King Harald 
saw this to be his best choice, to fare back to 
Norway and make that realm his own first, and 
thence to gather strength of host. And so King 
Harald fared now with all the host back to 
Norway. But when he was back in Norway he 
had a Thing with the folk of the land, and let take 
him to king over all the land. So fared he from 

XXX Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 93 

the east out of the Wick that he was taken for 
king by every folkland in Norway. 

Einar Thambarskelnr fared with the body of 
King Magnus, and with him all the host of the 
Thrand-folk, and brought it to Nidoyce, and he was 
laid in earth at Clement's Church, where then was 
the shrine of King Olaf the Holy. 

King Magnus had been a man of middle growth, 
straight-faced and bright-faced, and bright of hair; 
deft of speech, swift of counsel, masterful of 
heart ; the most bounteous of money, a great war- 
rior, and the boldest under weapons ; of all kings 
he was the most beloved ; him praised both 
friends and foes. 


THAT autumn King Svein Wolfson was 
staying east in Skaney, and set out on a 
journey to Sweden, and was minded to 
give up that title of honour which he had taken 
to him in Denmark. But when he was come up 
to his horse, lo, there rode thereto certain men, 
and told him the tidings ; first, that King Magnus 
Olafson was dead, and next, that all the host of 
the Northmen was gone from Denmark. Svein 
answered swift thereto, and said : " I take God to 
witness that never henceforth shall I flee the 
Dane-realm whiles I am alive." Then he leapt 
on his horse, and rode south into Skaney, and 
straightway much folk drifted to him ; and this 
winter he laid under him all the Dane-realm and 

94 The Saga Library. XXXI 

all Danes took him to king. Thorir, the brother 
of King Magnus, came in the autumn to King 
Svein with the word-sendings of King Magnus, as 
is written afore, and Svein gave him a good wel- 
come, and Thorir was long sithence with him in 
good cheer. 


kingdom over all Norway after the 
death of King Magnus Olafson. And 
when he had ruled over Norway one winter, as it 
wore towards spring, he bade out a war-gathering 
from all the land, one half of the all-men host in 
men and ships, and made south for Jutland. He 
harried in the summer far and wide and burned, 
and hove into Godnfirth. Then Harald wrought 

While yet the oak of linen 
The man of her's caresseth, 
Hold we, O Gerd of song-spell, 
In Godnafirth our anchors. 

Then he spoke to Skald Thiodolf and bade him 
do the rest, and he sang : 

One spaedom do I tell now : 
With fluke cold-neb next summer 
Shall hold the ship more southward ; 
For the hook the deep yet eke we. 

To this Bolverk points in his drapa, that Harald 

XXXII Story of Har aid the Hard-redy. 95 

went to Denmark the next year after the death of 
King Magnus : 

The next year didst thou dight thee 

From out the land a war-host ; 

Sea with bright brine-steed shear'd'st thou ; 

O'er fair ships went the water. 

Dear hull on darksome billow 

Was lying. Then the Dane-folk 

Was hard bestead. All folk saw 

Off land the war-ships laden. 


THEN burnt they the homestead of Thorkel 
Gusher. He was a great chief, but his 
daughters were led bound aboard ship. 
They had wrought much mockery the winter 
before about that, that King Harald would fare to 
Denmark with war-ships. They cut an anchor out 
of cheese, and said that such would well hold the 
ships of Norway's king. Then was sung this : 

The maids of the Danes of isle-ring 
From out the cheese all-sour, 
The rings of anchors sheared, 
That thing the king did anger. 
Now seeth many a maiden 
A full-stout crook of iron 
Holding the king's ships : thereof 
To-morn shall few be laughing. ! 

It is told that the spy who had seen the fleet of 
King Harald spake thus to the daughters of 
Thorkel Gusher: "This said ye, Gusher's daughters, 
that King Harald would not come to Denmark." 

96 The Saga Library. XXXIII 

Answered Dotta : " That was yesterday." Thorkel 
ransomed his daughters with an exceeding deal of 
wealth. So says Grani : 

The proud Hlokk of the drifting 

Of Kraki, never let she 

Her eyelids dry, a-wending 

Out in the full thick Hornshaw. 

Drave flight the lord of Fialir 

Of the king's foes to the strand there ; 

All swiftly Dotta's father 

Must pay the wealth out therefor. 

King Harald harried all through this summer 
in the Dane-realm, and gat him an exceeding deal 
of wealth ; but he was not inlanded that summer 
in Denmark, but went back in the autumn to Nor- 
way, and was there through the winter. 


KING HARALD gat to wife Thora, the 
daughter of Thorberg Arnison, the winter 
next after the death of King Magnus 
the Good. They had two sons, the older hight 
Magnus, and the second Olaf. King Harald and 
Queen Ellisif had two daughters, one hight Mary, 
the other Ingigerd. 

But the next spring after this warfare, of which 
the tale has just been told, King Harald bade out 
an host, and went in the summer to Denmark and 
harried, and sithence summer after summer. So 
saith Stuf the Skald : 

XXXIV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 97 

We heard of, wasted was Falster, 
And mickle fear the folk gat. 
There full fed was the raven ; 
Each year the Danes were frighted. 


KING SVEIN ruled over all Dane-realm 
sithence that King Magnus died. In 
winter he sat in quiet, but in summer he 
was abroad with all his common war-host, and be- 
hight to fare north into Norway with the host of 
the Danes, and to do there no less evil than King 
Harald did in the Dane-realm. King Svein 
offered this winter to King Harald that they 
should meet the next summer in the Elf, and there 
fight it out between them or else come to peace. 
And both of them were busy all the winter through 
arraying their ships, and the next summer both 
had out one half of their common war-host. 

That summer came abroad from Iceland Thor- 
leik the Fair, and took to working a flock about 
King Svein Wolfson. He heard so soon as he 
came north into Norway, that King Harald was 
gone south to the Elf to meet King Svein. Then 
sang Thorleik this : 

Hope is now that the war-host 
Of Up-Thrandfolk may swiftly 
Hap on the king war-cunning 
On Rakni's road in point-stour. 
There then may God yet wield it, 
Which taketh land or life-breath 
From other. Svein thinks little 
Of peace the seldom-lasting. 
V. H 

98 The Saga Library. XXXIV 

And he sang this withal : 

Wroth Harald, he who often 
Hath red shield off the land reared, 
Now the broad board-beasts bringeth 
From north on paths of Budli. 
But the gold-mouthed, fair-dighted 
Mast-gleaming deer that Svein hath, 
E'en he the spears that reddeneth, 
Seek o'er the seas from southward. 

King Harald came with his host to the tryst 
appointed, and heard that King Svein lay south by 
Sealand with his fleet. So King Harald parted 
his host, and let the more part of the bonder-host 
fare back, but fared with his body-guard and 
landed-men, and the chosen of the host, and all 
that of the bonder-host which was nighest to the 
Danes. They fared south to Jutland south of 
Vendil-skagi, and so south about Thioda, and 
there fared everywhere with war-shield. So says 
Stuf the Skald: 

Fled Thioda-folk from meeting 
The king ; straightway the soul-proud 
High heart great things areded. 
O'er lands with Christ for ever. 

They went all the way south to Heathby, took 
the merchant-town and burned it. Then King 
Harald's men wrought this : 

All Heathby in the fury 

From end to end was burned up ; 

That may be called methinketh 

A doughty deed of valour. 

Like that for Svein we win harm. 

Last night before the dawning 

Upon the town wall stood I 

Flame gushed from out the houses. 

XXXV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 99 

Of this Thorleik also telleth in his flock, when 
he had heard that no battle had befallen in the 

Fight-Ragnir, he who wots not, 

May ask of the king's war-folk, 

How 'twas that the king the wrath-fain 

To Heathby him hath gotten ; 

When Harald sped the wind-skates 

From eastward to the king's town 

But needless early. Soothly 

Ne'er should it have betided ! 


THEN King Harald went north, having 
sixty ships, and the most big and much 
laden with plunder, which they had taken 
in the summer. But when they came north off 
Thioda, King Svein came down from the land 
with a mickle host, and bade King Harald to 
fight and come aland. King Harald had an host 
less by more than one half; so he bade King Svein 
to fight with him a-shipboard. So says Thorleik 
the Fair : 

Svein, even he who born was 
At the best of tides of Mid-garth, 
Bade to the folk the mighty 
On land the shields to redden. 
But Harald, shy of failing, 
Quoth he would fight the rather 
On wind-hawk, if swift-redy 
The king his land would hold to. 

After this King Harald sailed north about 
Vendil-skagi ; but then the wind baffled them, so 

loo The Saga Library. XXXV 

they laid their ships under Leesey, and there they 
lay over-night. Then came on a mist lying on 
the sea ; but when it was morning and the sun ran 
up, they saw out to sea as if certain fires were burn- 
ing. So this was told to King Harald, and he 
looked, and spake forthwith : " Strike the tilts of 
the ships, and let men fall to the oars. The Dane- 
host now is come upon us, and the mist will have 
cleared whereas they are, and the sun be shining 
on their dragon-heads, such as are overlaid with 

And even so it was as he said, for there was 
come King Svein with an host not to be fought 
against. Rowed then either of them as they most 
might. The Danes had ships speedier under 
oars, but the ships of the Northmen were both 
water-logged and much deep, so that it drew 
together much betwixt them. 

Then saw King Harald that things would not 
do as matters stood. The drake of King Harald 
fared last of all his ships. Then spake King 
Harald to throw overboard rafts, and let come on 
them clothes and precious things. So much was 
the calm, that these things drifted with the tide- 
stream. But when the Danes saw their own 
wealth drift on the main, they turned off after it 
who fared ahead, for they thought it easier to take 
that which floated loose than to have to fetch it 
from on board the Northmen. Hereby was the 
chase tarried. 

But when King Svein came after them with his 
ships, he egged them, and quoth that were a 
mickle shame, having so great an host as they had, 

XXXV Story ofHaraldthe Hard-redy. 101 

if they should not get them taken, and have all 
power over them, seeing that they had but a little 
company. Took the Danes then to harden the 
rowing again. But when King Harald saw that 
the ships of the Danes went faster, he bade 
his men lighten the ships, and throw overboard 
malt and wheat and swine-flesh, and hew down 
their drink, and thus they stood a while. Then 
let King Harald take war-hurdles, casks, and tuns 
that were toom, and cast them overboard, and 
therewith the war-taken men. And when that 
was drifted together on the sea, then King Svein 
bade save the men, and so it was done. In that 
dwelling it drew asunder between them. Then the 
Danes turned back and the Northmen went their 
way. So saith Thorleik the Fair : 

I heard it all, how King Svein 
On ship-path chased the Eastmen, 
But the other king swift-minded 
Therefrom away he held him. 
All gettings of the Thrands' king 
On the Jutland main storm-swollen 
Now needs must they be floating. 
More ships withal they lost there. 

King Svein turned the fleet back under Leesey, 
and there came upon seven ships of the Northmen ; 
that host was of the war-muster, and bonders 
only. And when King Svein came upon them, 
they prayed for peace and bade money for them- 
selves. So says Thorleik the Fair : 

The king's friends the stout-hearted 
Bade much to the lord of men there 
Of ransom, they the lesser 
Of folk set battle sleeping. 

102 TIte Saga Library. XXXVI 

The bonders, the keen-redy, 
Thereat they stayed the onset 
When words befell : to the men's sons 
No chaffer was the life-breath. 


KING HARALD was a man masterful 
and given to rule in his own land ; much 
sage of wit, so that it is all men's talk 
that no lord ever was in northern lands so deep- 
witted as was Harald, or so nimble of rede, 
was a mickle warrior and the boldest under wea- 
pons ; he was strong, and defter of weapons than 
any other man, even as is writ afore. And yet is 
mickle more of his doughty deeds unwritten, which 
comes of our lack of lore ; and again, that we will 
not bring to book stories without witness. Though 
we have heard speeches or heard tell of other 
things, we deem it better, that from henceforth 
matters be added, than that it should be found 
needful to take those same things out. A mickle 
tale of King Harald is set forth in those songs which 
Iceland-men brought to himself or to his sons, for 
which sake he was their mickle friend. He was 
also the greatest friend to all the folk of this land ; 
and whenas there was a mickle dearth in Iceland, 
King Harald gave leave to four ships to carry 
meal to Iceland, ordering that no ship-pound 
should be dearer than one hundred of wadmal ; 
he gave leave to fare abroad to all poor folk who 
could get them victuals across the sea; and thence 
this land came through for that year, and bettered. 

XXXVII Harald the Hard-redy. 103 

King Harald sent out hither a bell to the church 
to which Olaf the Holy had sent the wood, and 
which was reared at the Althing. Such memories 
have men here of King Harald, and many other 
great gifts which he granted to those who sought 
to him. 


HALDOR, the son of Snorri, and Wolf, 
the son of Uspak, of whom the tale hath 
been told afore, came to Norway with 
King Harald. In many ways they two were unlike. 
Haldor was the most of men, and the strongest 
and fairest. This witness bore King Harald to him, 
that he had been the one, of the men that were with 
him, who was least startled at sudden haps, whether 
that were man-peril or tidings of joy, or whatso of 
peril might come to hand ; then was he no gladder 
thereby nor ungladder ; neither slept he more nor 
less, nor drank nor ate other than his wont was 
therein. Haldor was a man few-spoken, stubborn 
of word, bare-spoken, rough-tempered and unmeek ; 
and that fell ill with the king, whereas he had with 
him enough of other men noble and serviceful. 
Haldor tarried with King Harald for but a little 
while, and went to Iceland, and set up a house at 
Herdholt, where he dwelt till eld, and became an 
old man. 

104 The Saga Library. XXXVIII-IX 


WOLF, the son of Uspak, was with King 
Harald in mickle love ; he was the 
wisest of men, deft of speech, of mickle 
valiance, faithful and single-hearted. King Harald 
made Wolf his marshal, and gave him Jorunn, the 
daughter of Thorberg, the sister of Thora, whom 
Harald had to wife. The children of Wolf and 
Jorunn were these : Joan the Strong of Rasmead, 
and Brigida, the mother of Sheep- Wolf, the father 
of Peter Burden-Swain, the father of Wolf-Fly and 
Sigrid. The son of Joan the Strong was Erlend 
Homebred, the father of Archbishop Eystein and 
his brethren. King Harald gave to Wolf the 
Marshal the landed-man's right, and a grant of 
twelve marks and half a folkland in Thrandheim 
to boot. So says Stein, the son of Herdis, in 
Wolfs Flock. 


KING MAGNUS, son of Olaf, let build 
Olafs Church in Cheaping; in which 
place the body of King Olaf had been 
waked nightlong ; that place was then over above 
the town. There, top, he let raise the king's 
garth. The church was not all done before the 
king died, but King Harald let that be fulfilled 
which fell short. He also let begin to build a 
stone-hall there in the garth, but it was not full 
done before he died. King Harald let rear from 

XL The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 105 

its foundations Mary's Church upon the Mel, nigh 
where the holy body of the king had lain in earth 
the first winter after his fall. That was a great 
minster, and wrought strongly of lime, so that it 
might scarce be got broken when Archbishop Ey- 
stein let take it down. The holy relic of King 
Olaf was warded in Olaf s Church while Mary's 
Church was a-doing. King Harald let house the 
king's-garth down below Mary's Church by the 
river where it is now ; and where he had let build 
the hall, he let hallow a house for Gregory's 


THERE was a certain man, Ivar by name, 
who was a landed-man of noble birth ; he 
had house in the Uplands and was daughter's 
son to Hakon the Mighty. Ivar was of all men the 
fairest to behold. A son of Ivar was hight Hakon ; 
of him it is so said, that he was above all men, who 
were at that time in Norway, as to prowess, 
strength, and pith. Already in his young age he 
was on warfare, and therein gathered to him much 
renown. And so Hakon became the worthiest of 

106 The Saga Library. XLI-II 


mightiest of landed-men in Thrandheim. 
But between him and King Harald there 
was somewhat few dealing; yet had Einar the 
grants which he had had while King Magnus was 
alive. Einar was mighty wealthy. He had to wife 
Bergliot, the daughter of Earl Hakon, as is afore- 
writ. Eindridi, their son, was a full-grown man by 
this time, and had then to wife Sigrid, the daughter 
of Ketil Kalf and Gunnhild, sister's daughter of 
King Harald. Eindridi had the fairness and good- 
liness of his mother's kindred, Earl Hakon or his 
sons ; but the growth and strength he had of his 
father Einar, and had all the prowess which Einar 
had beyond other men ; and a well-beloved man 
he was withal. 


WORM was then earl in the Uplands ; 
his mother was Ragnhild, the daughter 
of Earl Hakon the Mighty. Worm 
was a man most worshipful. At that time was 
east in Jadar at Soli, Aslak, the son of Erling ; he 
had to wife Sigrid, the daughter of Earl Svein, 
son of Hakon. Gunnhild, another daughter of 
Earl Svein, Svein Wolfson, the Dane-king, had to 
wife. Such was the offspring of Earl Hakon then 
in Norway, and many other noble folk, and all that 
kindred was much fairer than other men-folk, and 

XLIII-IV Harald the Hard-redy. 107 

the most of them mickle men of prowess and all 


KING HARALD was of a masterful mind, 
and that waxed the more the more fast 
he was in the land ; and it came to this, 
that to most men it availed ill to gainsay him, or 
to push forward aught else save that which he 
would let be. So saith Thiodolf the Skald : 

The lord-wont host of the brooker 

Of battle hath all humble 

To sit and stand as mindeth 

The mighty battle-sweller. 

And louteth all the people 

To the fattener of the fight-stare. 

Few is to do, but yeasay 

As the king shall bid the people. 


most the leader of the bonders through- 
out Thrandheim, and held up the answers 
for them at Things, whenas the king's men sought 
at them. Einar kenned well the law, nor did he 
lack boldness to flit that forth at Things, even 
though the king himself were there ; and all the 
bonders gave him their help. The king got 
much wroth thereat, and at last it came to this, 

1 08 The Saga L ibrary. X L I V 

that they contended together with high words. 
Said Einar to the king that the bonders would 
not thole his lawlessness, if he would break the 
common law of the land on them ; and it fared so 
between them many times. Then took Einar 
to have much folk about him at home, and much 
more when he went to the town when the king 
was there before. 

And on a time Einar fared to the town with a 
great company, eight or nine longships and well- 
nigh five hundred men. And when he came to 
the town he went up with this host. King Harald 
was in his garth, and stood out on a gallery and 
saw how Einar's folk went from the ships. Men 
say that Harald then sang this : 

Brisk Einar Thambarskelfir 
I see, the man who kenneth 
To shear the film of sea-weeds, 
Walk up here with a many. 
That lord full mighty bideth 
The filling of a king's seat : 
I find less host of house-carles 
At earl's heel drifteth often. 

The reddener of the shield-blink, 
Einar, will yet beguile us 
Of this our land, but if he 
Thin mouth of axe be kissing. 

Einar tarried in the town for some days. 

XLV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 109 


ONE day a folk-mote was held, and the 
king was himself at that mote. There 
had been taken in the town a certain thief, 
and was had to the mote. The man had been 
erewhile with Einar, and he had got a liking for 
the man. Einar was told hereof, and he deemed 
then he wotted that the king would not let the man 
get off any the more because Einar set store by it. 
Then Einar let his men take to their weapons, 
and sithence went unto the mote ; takes Einar the 
man from the mote by force. Thereafter the 
friends of both go in, and bore pleas of peace 
between them ; and it came to this, that a meeting 
was bespoken, whereat they themselves should 
meet. The council-chamber was in the king's 
garth by the river Nid; the king went into the 
chamber with few men, but the rest of his com- 
pany stood outside in the garth. The king let 
turn a shutter over the luffer, so that little was 
open thereof. 

Then came Einar into the garth with his folk, 
and spake to Eindridi his son : " Be thou outside 
with the folk ; there will then be no peril for 
me." So Eindridi stood without by the chamber 

But when Einar came into the chamber, he 
said : " Mirk it is in the king's council-chamber." 
And forthwith men leapt upon him, and some 
thrust and some hewed. But when Eindridi 
heard that, he drew his sword and ran into the 

i io The Saga Library. XLV 

chamber, where he was straightway felled, and 
they both together. 

Then ran the king's men to the chamber and 
before the door, but the bonders dropped hands, 
whereas now they had never a leader ; each egged 
the other, and said that shame it was of them if 
they should not avenge their chief, but for all that 
there was never an onset. 

The king went out to his host and set it in 
array, and set up his banner, but no onset was of 
the bonders. So then the king went on board 
his ship and all his folk, and rowed sithence out 
down the river, and thence went his way out into 
the firth. 

Bergliot, the wife of Einar, heard of his fall, 
and was then in the chamber which she and Einar 
had had before out in the town. She went forth- 
with up into the king's garth whereas was the 
bonder-folk, and egged them much to battle. But 
at that nick of time the king rowed down along 
the river. Then spake Bergliot: " Miss we now 
Hakon, the son of Ivar, my kinsman ; forsooth the 
banesmen of Eindridi would not be rowing down 
river there if Hakon stood here on the bank." 

Sithence Bergliot let lay out the bodies of Einar 
and Eindridi, and they were laid in earth at Olaf's 
Church beside the tomb of King Magnus, the son 
of Olaf. 

After the fall of Einar King Harald was so 
sore ill-liked for the deed, that nought lacked but 
that the landed-men and bonders fell on him and 
held him battle, save that no leader there was to 
let raise banner for the bonder-host. 

XLVI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. in 


FINN ARNISON abode at this time at 
Eastort in Yriar ; he was then a landed- 
man of King Harald. Finn had to wife 
Bergliot, the daughter of Halfdan, the son of 
Sigurd Sow. Halfdan was brother of King 
Olaf the Holy and King Harald. Thora, the 
wife of King Harald, was brother's daughter of 
Finn Arnison, and Finn was most dear to the 
king, and all those brethren. Finn Arnison had 
been for certain summers in West-viking; and 
they had been all together in warfare : Finn, and 
Guthorm, son of Gunnhild, and Hakon, the son 
of Ivar. 

King Harald went out down Thrandheim-firth, 
and all the way to Eastort ; there had he good 
welcome. Then talked they together, the king 
and Finn, and spake between them over those 
tidings which had latest betid, the taking of the 
lives of Einar and his son, to wit, and that murmur 
and turmoil which the bonders made at the king. 
Finn answers swiftly: "Thou art the worst-con- 
ditioned in everywise ; whatso thou doest thou 
doest ill ; and sithence art thou so sore adrad, that 
thou wottest not where to have thee." 

The king answered laughing : " Kinsman-in- 
law, I will now send thee up to the town, and I 
will that thou bring the bonders to peace with 
me ; and I will, if that goeth not, that thou fare to 
the Uplands and bring it about with Hakon Ivar- 
son that he be not my withstander." 

ii2 The Saga Library. XLVI 

Finn answers : "What shalt thou lay down for 
me, if I fare this fool's errand ? for both the 
Thranders and the Uplanders are foes of thee 
so mickle, that no messengers of thine may go 
thither, unless at their own risk." The king 
answers : " Go thou, kinsman-in-law, on this 
errand ; for I know that thou wilt be on the way, 
if any be, to make us peace, and choose thou thy 
boon of us." 

Said Finn : " Hold thou to thy word then, and 
I shall choose the boon : I choose peace and land- 
dwelling for my brother Kalf, and that he have all 
his lands ; and moreover, that he have his name- 
boot and all that dominion which he had ere he 
fared out of the land." The king answered and 
yeasaid all this which Finn had spoken. They 
had witnesses thereto and handfasting. 

Sithence said Finn : " What shall I bid Hakon 
that he yeasay thee truce ? he ruleth most for 
those kinsmen." The king answered : " That 
shalt thou first hear, what Hakon speaks con- 
cerning peace on his hand. Sithence bring thou 
my case as far forth as thou mayst, and at last 
deny thou nought save the kingship alone." 

Then King Harald went south to Mere, and 
drew together company, and became much- 

XLVII-VIII Haraldthe Hard-redy. 113 


FINN ARNISON went up to the town, 
and had with him his housecarles, well- 
nigh eighty men. And when he came to 
the town he had a Thing with the townsfolk, and 
spoke at that Thing long and deftly, and bade the 
townsfolk and the bonders take up all other rede than 
to be of ill will to their king or to drive him away. 
He minded them how much ill had come upon 
them, since they had so misdone against the holy 
King Olaf. He said eke, that the king will boot 
these manslayings even according as the best men 
and the wisest would will to doom. So Finn 
closed his speech that men would to let this matter 
stand quiet till the messengers came back whom 
Bergliot had sent to the Uplands to see Hakon 
Ivarson. Thereupon Finn went out to Orkdale 
with the men who had followed him to the town, 
and thence he fared up to Dofra-fell and east over 
the fell. Finn fared first to see Worm, his son-in- 
law (the earl had to wife Sigrid, the daughter of 
Finn), and told him of his errand. 


THEREUPON they appoint a meeting 
with Hakon Ivarson. And when they 
met, Finn brought forward before Hakon 
the errand which King Harald bade him. It was 
soon found, in Hakon's speech, that him-thought 
v. i 

ii4 The Saga Library. XLVIII 

he was mickle bound to avenge his kinsman 
Eindridi ; he said that such words had come to 
him from Thrandheim, that he would gain there 
strength enough for an uprising against the king. 
Then Finn set it forth before Hakon how by a 
mickle deal better it was to take from the king as 
many honours as Hakon himself might know how 
to bid, rather than to risk raising battle against 
the king, whenas he was already bound in service 
to him. He said that he would fare un victorious : 
"And then hast thou forfeited both wealth and 
peace ; while, if thou gain the day on the king, 
thou wouldst be hight a lord's-dastard." This 
speech of Finn's the earl backed up withal. 

But when Hakon had bethought him of this 
matter, then he unlocked that which abode in 
his mind, and said thus : " I shall make peace 
with King Harald if he will give me in wedlock 
his kinswoman Ragnhild, the daughter of King 
Magnus Olafson, with such a dowry as beseemeth 
her and is well liking to her." Finn said that he 
would yeasay this on behalf of the king. And 
this affair they settle between them. 

Then fared Finn back north to Thrandheim ; 
and thus this unrest and turmoil settled down, so 
that the king still held his dominion in peace 
within the land ; for now was smitten down all that 
banding together which the kinsmen of Eindridi 
had had for to withstand King Harald. 

X LI X Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 1 1 5 


AND when the appointed meeting came 
round to which Hakon should come to 
look to this covenant, he fared to see 
King Harald, And when they take to their talk 
the king says he will hold to all that on his own 
behalf which had come into the peace between 
Hakon and Finn. Said the king : " Thou, Hakon, 
shalt talk this matter over with Ragnhild, whether 
she will yeasay this match ; but it is neither for 
thee nor any other to woo to Ragnhild in such 
wise that she be not consenting thereto." Sithence 
went Hakon to Ragnhild, and set forth to her 
this wooing. She answered thus : " Oft find I 
how all dead to me is King Magnus my father, if 
I be given to a mere bonder ; notwithstanding that 
thou be a fair man and well furnished of all prowess, 
If King Magnus were alive, then would he give me 
to no less a man than a king. Now there is no 
hope of this, that I will to be given to a man un- 

Sithence Hakon went to see King Harald, and 
told him the talk of Ragnhild and him, and re- 
hearsed to him the covenant made between him 
and Finn ; Finn withal was there, and more men 
beside, such as had been at the parley between 
him and Finn. Hakon so sayeth, taking them all 
to witness, that the matter was settled on these 
terms, that the kino- should furnish Ragnhild from 

o o 

home in such wise as it liked her : " Now she will 
not wed a man untitled ; but thou mayst give me a 
name of dignity, for I have kin thereto to be called 

1 1 6 The Saga Library. L 

earl, and certain other matters have I thereto 
withal, as folk say." 

Answers the king : " Olaf, the king, my brother, 
and King Magnus, his son, while they ruled the 
realm, let there be one only earl in the land ; even 
so have I done since I was king ; and I will not 
take away from Earl Worm the dignity which I 
have erst given him." 

Now Hakon saw his affair, that it would never 
speed, and it liked him right ill. All wroth was 
Finn withal, and they said that the king did not 
keep his word ; and with matters so done, they 


THEN fared Hakon forth with outof the land, 
and had a longship well manned, and made 
land south in Denmark, and went forth- 
with to see King Svein, his kinsman-in-law. The 
king welcomed him worshipfully, and gave him 
great grants there ; and Hakon became there the 
captain of the land-ward against the vikings 
who harried much in the Dane-realm, Wends, 
to wit, Courlanders, and other folk of the east 
ways ; he lay out aboard warships winter as well as 

LI The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 117 


ASMUND a man is named who, it was said, 
was sister-son of King Svein, and his 
fosterson. Asmund was of all men the 
doughtiest, and the king loved him much. But 
when Asmund grew up, he speedily became a man 
much unruly, and a man-slayer. That liked 
the king ill, and he let him fare away from him, 
but gave him a good feof, wherewith he could well 
hold himself and a company with him. But so 
soon as Asmund took to him the king's money, he 
drew much folk to him, but that money which the 
king had given him did not avail to his costs ; so 
he took much more withal of that which the king 
owned. But when the king heard this, he sum- 
moned Asmund to come and meet him. And 
when they met, then said the king that Asmund 
should be of his bodyguard, and have no follow- 
ing ; and even so the matter had to be as the king 
willed. But when Asmund had been with the 
king for a little while, he was ill content there ; and 
so he ran away one night and came to his follow- 
ing, and then did still more evil than erst. 

But as the king was once a-riding the land, and 
came nigh to where was Asmund, he sent out folk 
to take Asmund by force. Sithence the king let 
set him in irons, and keep him thus for a while, 
and thought that he would grow tamer. But when 
Asmund came out of irons, he ran away forthwith, 
and got to him men and warships, and took to 
harrying both inland and outland, and did the 

ii8 The Saga Library. LI 

most of war- works, and slew many folk, and robbed 
far and wide. 

But the folk who were in the way of this un- 
peace came to the king and bewailed them of their 
scathe. But he answered : " Why do ye tell these 
things to me ? Why fare ye not to Hakon Ivar- 
son ? He is the warden of my land, and set here 
to give peace to the bonders, and to punish vikings. 
I was told that Hakon was a bold man and a 
valiant, but now meseemeth that he will put hin> 
self forward nowhere, wherein he deems is man- 

These words of the king were brought to Hakon, 
and eked with many more. Sithence fared Hakon 
with his host to seek Asmund, and their fleets met, 
and there befell a hard battle and a mickle. Hakon 
went up on to the ship of Asmund and ridded it ; 
and it came to this, that he and Asmund them- 
selves dealt together in weapons and blows. There 
fell Asmund, and Hakon smote the head from off 
him. Sithence Hakon went in hot haste to meet 
King Svein, and so came to him that the king 
was sitting at the meat-board. Hakon stepped up 
to the board, and laid the head of Asmund thereon 
before the king, and asked him if he knew it. 
The king answered nought, and turned as red as 
blood to look upon. Sithence went Hakon away. 

A little after he sent men to Hakon, and bade 
him fare away from his service : " Tell ye him 
that I will do him no hurt, but I may not take 
heed to all my kinsmen." 

LII-III Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 119 


SI THENCE Hakon fared away from Den- 
mark and north into Norway to his lands. 
By then was Earl Worm, his kinsman, 
dead. Men were much fain of Hakon, his friends 
and kindred ; and therewith many noble men made 
it their business to go between him and King 
Harald to make peace between them, and it came 
so far that they made peace on the terms that 
Hakon should get to wife Ragnhild, the king's 
daughter, but King Harald gave Hakon earl's 
name, and such like rule as Earl Worm had had. 
Hakon swore oaths of faith to King Harald for 
such service as he was in duty bounden to. 


KALF, the son of Arni, had been in west- 
viking sithence he fared from Norway, 
and often in winter he was in Orkney 
with Earl Thorfinn, his kinsman-in-law. Finn 
Arnison, his brother, sent word to Kalf and let tell 
him the covenant which he and Harald had be- 
spoken between them, that Kalf should have land- 
dwelling in Norway and should have his lands and 
such grants as he had had of King Magnus. But 
when this message came to Kalf, he arrayed him- 
self forthwith for the faring, and fared east to 
Norway first, to see Finn, his brother ; then Finn 
took truce for Kalf, and then they themselves met 

1 20 The Saga Library. LI V 

the king and Kalf, and made up peace between 
them, even as the king and Finn had covenanted 
between them before. Kalf bound himself to the 
king on the self-same terms as whereby he had 
bound himself to King Magnus ; that Kalf, to wit, 
should be in duty bound to do all such works as 
King Harald would, and as he deemed would 
further his kingdom. Thereupon Kalf took over 
all his lands and all such grants as he had had 


BUT the summer next after, King Harald 
bade out an host and went south to Den- 
mark, and harried there through the sum- 
mer. But when he came south to Fion there was 
a mickle host gathered against them. Then the 
king let his host go from the ships, and array them 
for going inland. He arrayed his folk, and let Kalf 
Arnison be captain of a company, and bade them 
go up aland first, and told them whitherward 
they should hold them, and said he would go 
up after them, and so bring them aid. Kalf and 
his went up, and speedily came an host upon them, 
and Kalf gave battle forthwith ; but nought long 
was the fight, for Kalf was speedily overborne by 
odds, and he and his company turned to flight; but 
the Danes followed them, and many of the North- 
men fell. There fell Kalf Arnison. 

King Harald went aland with his battles, and 
soon they came upon the slain and found the body 

\NTheStoryofHaraldtheHard-redy. i2i 

of Kalf, and it was borne down to the ships. But 
the king went up inland and harried there, and 
slew a many men. So says Arnor : 

In Fion the lord-king reddened 
The bright edge ; thence did minish 
Fion-dwellers' host, and fire 
Ran over men-folks' dwelling. 


AFTER that Finn Arnison accounted it for 
enmity on the king concerning the fall of 
Kalf his brother, and he would have it, 
that the king had compassed his bane, and that that 
was but a hoodwinking of him, Finn, when King 
Harald lured Kalf his brother from west over sea 
into his power and faith. Now when this talk 
came aloft, that said many men how that it had 
been much short-sighted of Finn to trust to it that 
Kalf should ever get good faith of King Harald ; 
for they deemed that he was long-grudging, even 
in lesser matters than those wherein Kalf had done 
to beguilt him with the king. The king let every 
man say what he would about this ; he neither 
yeasaid it, nor denied it at all ; but this one thing 
was found herein, that the king thought it well be- 
fallen. And King Harald sang this song : 

Bane-compasser am I now 
Of two men and eleven ; 
Yet mind I of such murders : 
I egg me to the slaying. 
Gold-spoilers of my malice 
Yet talk ; and big word fareth 

122 The Saga Library. LVI 

With falseness. Little needeth, 
Men say, for leek to eke him. 

Finn Arnison took this matter so sorely to 
heart, that he fared away from the land and came 
south into Denmark. He fared to meet King 
Svein, and gat there good welcome. For a long 
time they sat on privy talk, and at last it came 
out that Finn took service with King Svein and 
became his man. King Svein granted an earldom 
to Finn, and Halland for feof, and there he had 
the ward of the land against the Northmen. 


GUTHORM hight a son of Ketil Kalf and 
Gunnhild of Ringness ; he was a sister-son 
of King Olaf and King Harald. Guthorm 
was a man of goodly build and early of man's 
growth. Guthorm was often with King Harald, and 
in mickle love there, and in counsel with the king, 
for Guthorm was a wise man and a well-beloved. 
Guthorm was often a-warfaring and harried much 
in the westlands, and had a great company with 
him. A land of peace and winter-dwelling he had 
in Dublin in Ireland, and was in mickle good 
liking with King Margath. 

LVII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 123, 


THE summer after, fared King Margath and 
Guthorm with him, and harried in Bret- 
land, and got there an exceeding deal of 
wealth. Thereupon they hove into Angelsey- 
sound, where they were due to share their plunder. 
But when was borne forth that mickle silver, and 
the king saw it, he would to have all that wealth 
himself alone, and now set but little store by his 
friendship with Guthorm. Guthorm took it ill 
that he should be robbed of his lot, he and his 
men. The king said he would give him two 
things to choose for his hand, " either to be content 
with what we will let be, or to hold battle with us 
else, and he to have the money who has the 
victory ; and thou, moreover, shalt go off thy ships, 
and I shall have them." To Guthorm it seemed 
that a great trouble now stood on either hand of 
him. It seemed him nought worshipful to let go 
his ships and goods without forfeit thereto. All 
perilous, moreover, it was to fight with the king 
and that great host which followed him ; but of 
their hosts was such odds that the king had six- 
teen longships and Guthorm but five. Then 
Guthorm bade the king grant him three nights' 
frist to take counsel with his men on this matter ; 
for he thought he might soften the king in that 
while, and bring his -matter into more friendly 
stead by the pleading of his men ; but that which 

124 The Saga Library. LVII 

he spake for was not gotten of the king. Now 
this was the eve of Olaf s wake. 

Now Guthorm chose rather to die with man- 
hood, or to fight him victory, than to thole shame 
and disgrace and mocking words for so mickle a 
miss. Then called he unto God and to the holy King 
Olaf his kinsman, and prayed them for furtherance 
and help, and behight the house of this holy man 
tithe of all the war-plunder which should fall to 
their lot if they gained the victory. Then he 
arrayed his company and ranked it against that 
mickle host, and fell to and fought with them. 
And by the propping of God and the holy 
King Olaf gat Guthorm the victory. There fell 
King Margath and every man who followed him, 
young and old. And after that glorious victory 
wendeth Guthorm home gladsome with all the lot 
of wealth which they had gained in the battle. 
Then was taken of the silver which they had 
gotten every tenth penny, as was behight to the 
holy King Olaf, and so exceeding mickle wealth was 
that, that from that silver Guthorm let make a 
rood after the stature of him, or of his captain of 
the prow, and that likeness is seven ells high. 
Guthorm gave the rood so made to the church of 
the holy King Olaf, and there it has been ever 
sithence in memory of the victory of Guthorm and 
the miracle of the holy King Olaf. 

LVI 1 1 Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 1 25 


A COUNT there was in Denmark evil and 
envious, who had a bondwoman, Norwe- 
gian of kin and of Thrandheim stock. 
She worshipped the holy King Olaf, and trowed 
firmly in his holiness. But the count of whom I 
told erst scorned all that which was told him of 
that holy man's miracles, and said it was nothing 
but empty talk and gossip, and made him gab and 
game of the praise and worship which the land- 
folk gave to that good king. 

But now time wore unto the day of high-tide 
whereon that merciful king lost his life, and which all 
Northmen held. Then would this unwise count no- 
wise hold it holy, and he bade his bondwoman to 
bake, and heat the oven to bread on that very day. 
She deemed she wotted of the mood of this count, 
that he would avenge him sorely upon her, if she 
obeyed not what he bade her do. So she went 
unwilling and baked the oven, wailing much while 
she worked, and she threatened King Olaf, and 
said she would trow in him never more, unless he 
avenged with some token this unheard-of thing. 
And now ye may hear meet punishment and truth- 
ful miracle. In one nick of time it was, in one hour 
that the count grew blind on both eyes, and the 
bread she had shoved into the stove was turned 
into stones. Some of that grit has come into the 
church of the holy King Olaf, and wide about 
otherwhere. Sithence has Olaf s mass ever been 
held in Denmark. 

126 The Saga Library. LIX 


WEST in Valland was a man infirm, so 
that he was a cripple, and went on 
knees and knuckles. On a day he was 
abroad on the way and was asleep there. That 
dreamed he, that a man came to him glorious of 
aspect, and asked whither he was bound ; and the 
man named some town or other. So the glorious 
man spoke to him : " Fare ithou to Olaf's Church, 
the one that is in London, and thou wilt be 

Thereafter he awoke, and fared to seek Olaf's 
Church, and at last he came to London Bridge, 
and there asked the folk of the city if they knew 
to tell him where was Olaf's Church. But they 
answered, and said that there were many more 
churches there than they might wot to what man 
they were hallowed. But a little thereafter came 
a man to him who asked whither he was bound ; 
and the cripple told him. And sithence said that 
man : " We twain shall fare both to the church of 
Olaf, for I know the way thither." Therewith they 
fared over the bridge, and went along the street 
which led to Olaf's Church. But when they 
came to the lich-gate, then strode that one 
over the threshold of the gate, but the cripple 
rolled in over it and straightway rose up a whole 
man. But when he looked around him his fellow- 
farer was vanished. 

LX TheStory of Harald the Hard-redy. 127 


KING HARALD let rear a cheaping- 
stead east in Oslo, and sat there often ; 
whereas it was good there for the in- 
gathering of victual, with wide countrysides all 
round about. There he sat well for the warding of 
the land against the Danes no less than for onsets 
at Denmark, which he was often wont to, though 
he might have no great host out. 

Now it so fell one summer, that King Harald 
fared with some light ships and no great company, 
and held south into the Wick. And when the 
wind was fair he sailed across up under Jutland, 
and took land there and harried, and the folk of 
the land gathered together and warded their land. 
So then King Harald made off for Limbfirth, and 
hove into that firth. Now Limbfirth lies in this 
way, that into it one fares as through a narrow 
river-deep, but as one goes up the firth then 
is it as a mickle sea. King Harald harried 
there on either land ; but the Danes had every- 
where gathered against him. Then King Harald 
brought his ships up to a certain island, a little 
land, and unbuilded ; and as his men searched it, 
they found no water there, and told the king. He 
let search if any ling-worm might be found in the 
island, and when that was found, they brought it 
to the king; and he let bring the worm to a 
fire and bake it and worry it so that it should 
thirst as much as might be. Then thread was 
tied round the tail of it, and the worm was let 

1 28 The Saga Library. LX 

loose, and speedily it crawled away, while the 
thread untwisted itself from the ball of twine ; and 
men went after the worm until it plunged into the 
earth. There the king bade dig for water ; so it 
was done, and they found water there without 

King Harald learnt the news from his spies 
that King Svein was come before the mouth of 
the firth with a great host of ships, but that faring 
in was slow to him, whereas only one ship might 
get in at a time. King Harald held his ships up 
the firth, and up to where it is broadest, whereas 
it hight Lowsbroad. Now from the innermost of 
that bight there is a narrow slip west to the main 
sea, and thitherward King Harald and his rowed 
in the evening. But in the night, when it had 
grown dark, they unladed the ships, and dragged 
them over the low land-neck, and had done it all 
before day, and arrayed the ships again, and then 
they sailed north past Jutland. Then they said : 

There Harald scraped 
Out of hands of the Danes. 

Then said the king that he should come another 
time into Denmark in such a wise that he should 
have more folk and bigger ships. Thereon the 
king went north to Thrandheim. 

LXI-I I Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 1 29 


KING HARALD sat that winter in 
Nidoyce ; he let build a ship that winter 
out at Eres that was a buss-ship. This 
craft was fashioned after the waxing of the Long- 
Worm, and done most needfully in all wise. 
There was a drake-head forward, and a crooked 
tail aft ; and the bows of her were all adorned with 
gold. It was of thirty-five benches, and big 
thereto, and the bravest of keels it was. All the 
outfit of the ship the king let be made at the 
heedfullest, both sails, and running-tackle, anchors 
and cables. That winter King Harald sent word 
to King Svein south in Denmark to come from 
the south to the Elf to meet him there and to 
battle, so that there they should share their 
lands in such wise that one or the other should 
have both kingdoms. 


THAT winter King Harald bade out an 
host, the all-folk-hosting from Norway. 
And when spring came on, a great host 
was drawn together. Then King Harald let set 
out that mickle ship on the river Nid, and sithence 
let set up the drake-head. Then sang Thiodolf 
the Skald : 

Fair dame ! the ship I saw run 
Out river-wards to sea-flood. 
V. K 

130 The Saga Library. LXII 

Ken thou, where the long hull lieth 
Of the brave drake off the land there. 
The mane of the bright worm gleameth 
O'er the lading since they shoved it 
From off the slip ; there upbare, 
Burnt gold the prow adorned. 

Then King Harald fits out the ship and arrays 
his journey, and when he was ready he held the 
ship from out the river ; there was its rigging 
much needfully done. So saith Thiodolf : 

On bath-day the men's leader 
The long tilt slings from off him, 
Then when the high-souled women 
From the town the worm's hull look on. 
Next fell the young all-wielder 
To steer the new ship westward, 
From out of Nid, as the lads' oars 
Into the sea were falling. 

The king's host kenneth slitting 
The straight oars out of the water. 
The woman stands a-wondering 
At the oar-stroke as a marvel. 
Ill pleased will be the maiden 
If the swart square-cleft sea-catcher 
Should go a-twain ; yet gives she 
Her leave thereto for full peace. 

The thole knows woe ere torn is 
Sea-catcher from the strong sea. 
O'er the hail-cold stream the Northmen 
Row out the nailed sea-adder. 
Where with seven tens of oar-blades 
The host holds for the main sea : 
'Tis as from the land a-looking 
One saw an iron erne's wing. 

King Harald held the host south along the 
land, and had out the all-folk muster, both of men 

LXII Story of Ha raid the Hard-redy. 131 

and ships. But when they sought east into the 
Wick, they got foul winds and big, and lay- to in 
havens wide about, both in the out-isles and in up 
the firths. So saith Thiodolf : 

The shaven stems of cutters 
Under the woods have shelter. 
The lord of the war-host girdleth 
The land with prows of war-ships. 
The all-men's war-host lieth 
Within each wick of skerries. 
The swift ships all high-byrnied 
Let shelter them the nesses. 

But in the heavy weather which now befell, the 
big ship needed good ground-holding. So says 

With bow the king now smiteth 
The high surf-garth of Leesey ; 
Then trieth the king to utmost 
The cables of the cutter. 
Nought is the scathe of lindens 
Unto the bowed iron joyous ; 
Grit and the ugly weather 
Gnaw at the rod thick-fashioned. 

But when the wind was fair, King Harald 
held the host east to Elf, and came there at eve 
of day. So says Thiodolf : 

Stoutly thrust on King Harald 
His half unto the Elf now ; 
The lord of Norway nighteth 
Anigh the land's out-marches. 
The king hath Thing at Thumla ; 
There due unto the raven 
With Svein is dayed his meeting, 
But if the Danes do shirk it. 

132 The Saga Library. LXIII 


BUT when the Danes hear that the host 
of the Northmen was come, then they 
flee, all they who might bring it about. 
The Northmen hear that the Dane-king has also 
an host out, and that he lieth south about Fion 
and Sealand. But when King Harald heard that 
King Svein would not hold tryst with him, or 
give him battle, as was bespoken, then took he 
the same rede as erst : he let the bonder-folk fare 
back, but manned an hundred ships and an half, and 
held with that host south past Halland, and harried 
wide. He laid his host into Lofa-nrth, and harried 
up the land there. 

A little after King Svein came on them with 
the Dane-host, and had three hundred ships. But 
when the Northmen saw the host, then let King 
Harald blow his folk together ; but many said 
that they should flee, and told it that to fight was 
of no avail. The king answered : " Sooner shall 
every man of us fall athwart the other, rather than 
flee." So says Stein, son of Herdis . 

Then said the king hawk-hearted 
That which he minded must be, 
And quoth that come to nothing 
All hope of peace for him was. 
Quoth the lord-king renowned 
That each of us thwart other 
Should fall before the yielding. 
Men brake up all their weapons. 

Sithence King Harald let array his ship-host 

LXIII Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 133 

for an onset, and laid his big dragon forward 
amidst of the battles. As says Thiodolf: 

Wolf-gracious friend-gifts' giver 
Eager let float the dragon 
Before mid-breast of battle, 
The point of king's host was it. 

That ship was right well arrayed and manned 
of many. So says Thiodolf: 

Peace-eager king was bidding 
His valiant ranks stand fast there. 
Meseemed the king's friends shielded 
O'er-lapping-wise the rowlocks. 
The doughty man-deeds' doer 
With shields locked the strong adder 
Off Nizi, so that each one 
Lay edge o'er edge of other. 

Wolf the Marshal laid his ship on one board of 
the king's ship : he said to his men that they 
should lay the ship well forward. Stein, the son 
of Herdis, was on board Wolf's ship. He sang : 

Wolf, the king's marshal, egged us 
All, when the high spears quaked, 
When quickened was the rowing 
Upon the sea out yonder. 
The shell-edged friend of the valiant 
Land's lord, he bade be laid there 
His ship well forth by the king's ship, 
And the lads that same yeasayed. 

Hakon, son of Ivar, lay outermost in one wing, 
and many ships followed him, and that host was 
right well arrayed ; but outermost in the other 

134 The Saga Library. LXIV 

wing lay the headmen of the Thrandfolk, and 
mickle host and fair was that. 


KING SVEIN also arrayed his host; he 
laid his ship in the midst of the battle 
over against the ship of King Harald; 
but nearest to him laid forth Earl Finn his ship ; 
and next thereto the Danes arrayed all that host 
which was the most valiant and best dight. 
Thereupon both sides lashed their ships together 
all throughout the middle of the fleet. But 
whereas the host was so mickle, it befell that all 
the flock of the ships went loose, and each one 
laid his own ship forward into the battle as he 
had heart thereto ; but that was right miseven. 
Now though the odds were very great, yet either 
side had an host not to be overborne. King Svein 
had seven earls in his host ; as says Stein, son of 
Herdis : 

The strong-heart lord of hersirs 
Risked with the Danes a meeting, 
Abiding it with long-ships 
Told half a second hundred. 
Next was it that the sitter 
At Hleithra wroth did shear him 
The tangle's meadow thither 
With a three hundred sound-mares. 

LXV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 135 


KING HARALD let blow the war-blast 
so soon as he had arrayed his ships, and 
let his men row up for onset. So says 
Stein, son of Herdis : 

Off river-mouth King Harald 
For Svein won hurtful passage, 
For peace must bid the king there 
Whereas he made withstanding. 
The king's friends sword-begirded 
Hardened the fray withoutward 
Of Halland. Hot wound sighed forth 
Blood on to the sea-billow. 

Then the battle was joined, and was of the 
fiercest ; either king egged on his host. As says 
Stein, son of Herdis : 

Each doughty shelter-shy king 
Bade the lads' host to shoot there, 
And hew ; but short the space was 
Betwixt the hosts of battle. 
Flew both the stones and arrows, 
Then when the brand flung off it 
The red blood. Then was changing 
The life of the fey warriors. 

It was late in the day that the battle was joined, 
and so it held nightlong. King Harald shot from 
bow a long while. So saith Thiodolf : 

All night the king of Uplands 
Drew bow ; the brisk land-ruler 
Was letting drift the arrows 
On to white weed of battle. 

136 The Saga Library. LXV 

The bloody point went creeping 
Through wounds of men be-byrnied ; 
Waxed flight of spears where Finn-geld 
Stood in the shields of Fafnir. 

Earl Hakon and the folk that followed him did 
not lash their ships, but rowed after those ships of 
the Danes that fared loose ; but every ship he 
grappled he ridded. And when the Danes saw 
that, then drew every one of them his ship from 
where the earl fared, and he sought after the 
Danes wherever they gave aback, and thus they 
were wellnigh turned to flight. Then a cutter 
rowed towards the ship of the earl, and he was 
called on and told that one wing of the battle 
of King Harald was giving way, and a many of 
their host had fallen there. Then the earl rowed 
thither and made a hard onset there, so that the 
Danes gave back once more. So fared the earl 
all night, and thrust forward whereas need was 
most ; and wheresoever he came on, nought held 
before him. So Hakon rowed about the outer 

In the latter part of the night the main-flight 
broke on the Danes, whereas then had King 
Harald gone up with his following on to the ship 
of King Svein, and that was so throughly ridded 
that all men fell save them that leapt into the deep. 
So says Arnor the earls' skald : 

Svein the right valiant went not 
Sackless from off his galley : 
That is my mind ; for soothly 
Hard metal on the helms came. 
The craft of the swift-spoken 
Jutes' friend must needs float empty 

LXV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 137 

Before away the king fled 
From his dead chosen warriors. 

But when the banner of King Svein was fallen, 
and his ship was voided, then fled all his men, and 
some fell. But on the ships that were lashed 
together, some men leapt into the deep there and 
then, and some got on to other ships which were 
loose, but all King Svein's men rowed off who 
might bring it about. That was an all-mickle 
man-fall ; and where the kings themselves had 
fought, and the most of the ships had been lashed, 
there lay voided of King Svein's ships more than 
seven tens ; as says Thiodolf : 

Sogn's king, the sturdy men say, 
In one swift hour ridded 
At fewest tale brave war-ships 
A seventy of Svein's people. 

King Harald rowed after the Danes, and drave 
them ; but that was nought easy, inasmuch as the 
fleet of the ships was so thronged ahead that 
scarce might any get forward. Earl Finn would not 
flee, and he was laid hands on ; his eyesight was 
bad. So saith Thiodolf : 

Svein owest thou now guerdon 
To six Dane-earls who let wax 
The whetting of the shaft-play 
For victory in one battle. 
Finn Arnison the war-bright, 
Who would not save his nimble 
Brave heart, was there laid hand on 
Amidst the ranks of battle. 

138 The Saga Library. LXVI 


EARL HAKON lay behind with his galley 
whenas King Harald and the rest of the 
host drave the rout ; whereas the earl's 
keel might not fare forward there by reason of 
the ships that lay in the way of him. Then 
rowed a man in a boat to the ship of the earl, 
and lay-to at the poop, a mickle man, and had a 
wide hat. 

He called up on to the ship and said : " Where 
is the earl ? " He was in the fore-hold stanching 
the bleeding of a certain man. 

The earl looked towards the man of the hat, 
and asked his name. He answered : " Here is 
Vandrad ; speak with me, earl ; " and the earl 
louted out over the board to him. Then spake 
the boatman : " I will take life of thee if thou wilt 
give it." The earl raised himself and named two 
of his men, both men dear to him, and said : " Step 
into the boat, and flit Vandrad ashore, and take 
him to Karl the bonder, my friend, and tell him 
this for a token, that he let Vandrad have the 
horse I gave him the day before yesterday, and 
his saddle therewith, and his son for a guide." 

Then they stepped into the boat, and take to 
their oars, but Vandrad steered. This was in the 
first dawn of day, and there was withal ship-going 
of the most, some rowing to land and some out 
to sea, both small craft and big. 

Vandrad steered where him-seemed there was 
most sea-room between the ships. But whereso 
the ships of the Northmen rowed anigh to them, 

LXVI Story of Har aid the Hard-redy. 139 

then told the earl's men who they were, and all 
let them fare whereso they would. 

Vandrad steered along the strand, and laid not 
to land till they came beyond where the thronging 
of the ships was. Sithence they went up to the 
homestead of Karl, as day began to brighten. 
They went into the chamber, and there was Karl 
new clad. The earl's men told him their errand, 
and Karl said they should eat first, and let set 
board before them and gat them washing. 

Then came the housewife into the chamber and 
said straightway : " Mickle wonder it is that never 
any sleep or rest we may get all night through, 
for the whooping and clatter ! " 

Answered Karl : " Knowest thou not that the 
kings have been fighting all night ? " She asked : 
" Which has had the better ? " Answered Karl : 
" The Northmen have got the victory." " Belike 
our king has fled once more," said she. Karl 
answered : " Men wot not whether he be fled 
or fallen." She answered : " In sorry case be we 
for a king ; he is both halt and craven." Then 
spake Vandrad : " Nought is the king craven ; but 
nought is he victorious." 

Vandrad took wash last ; and when he took the 
towel he wiped himself in a courteous manner with 
the middle thereof. But the housewife took the 
towel and pulled it away from him, and said : 
" But little of good cannest thou ; that is but up- 
landish to wet all the towel at once." Answered 
Vandrad : " There shall I yet come whereas I 
shall dry myself with the midmost of a towel." 

Then Karl set the board before them, and 

140 The Saga Library. LXVII 

Vandrad set him down in the midmost. They ate 
a while, and walked out sithence; then was the 
horse arrayed, and Karl's son ready to guide him, 
and had another horse. So they ride off into the 
wood, but the earl's men went back to their boat, 
and rowed out to the earl's ship. 


KING HARALD and his host drave the 
rout for but a short way, and sithence 
rowed back to the ships that were 
empty ; then they ransacked the slain. On the 
king's ship was found a many dead men, but 
nought was the body of King Svein found there, 
and yet they deemed they knew that he must have 
fallen. Then King Harald let lay out the bodies 
of his dead men, and bind the wounds of them 
who needed it. Then he let flit aland the bodies 
of the men of King Svein, and sent word to the 
bonders to bury the dead. After that he let share 
the plunder, and dwelt there some while. Then 
heard he the tidings that King Svein was come 
to Sealand, and that there was come to him all 
the host which had fled from the battle, and much 
other company besides, and he had a countless 

LX VI 1 1 Story ofHaraldthe Hard-redy. 1 4 1 


EARL FINN ARNISON was laid hands 
on in the battle, as is afore writ, and was 
led to the king. King Harald was right 
merry then, and said : " Here then we meet now, 
Finn, but last was it in Norway. That Danish court 
there has not stood all fast for thee ; and ill work 
have the Northmen to drag thee after them blind, 
and doing this for the saving of thy life." 

Then answered the earl : " Many evil things the 
Northmen must needs do, and the worst all that 
which thou biddest." Then said Harald : " Wilt 
thou have thy life now, unmeet though it be to 
thee ? " Answered the earl : " Not from thee, 
hound." Spake the king : " Wilt thou then that 
thy kinsman, Magnus, give thee peace ? " For 
Magnus, son of King Harald, was then steering 
of a ship. Then spoke the earl : " How shall that 
whelp rule the giving of peace ?" 

Then laughed the king, and thought it game to 
gird at him, and said : " Wilt thou take thy life 
from the hand of Thora, thy kinswoman ? " Said 
the earl : " Is she here ?" "She is here," said 
the king. 

Then Earl Finn uttered that scurvy word which 
sithence has been upheld in memory of how wroth 
he was so as he might not get his words stilled : 
" Nought wonderful though thou hast bitten well 
now, whereas the mare was following thee." 

Life was given to Earl Finn, and King Harald 
had him with him a while ; but Finn was some- 
what unmerry and unmeek in words. Then 

142 The Saga Library. LXIX 

spake King Harald : "That see I, Finn, thatthou 
wilt not come to with me or thy kinsfolk, so I 
will now give thee leave to fare to King Svein, 
thy kinsman-in-law." The earl answers : " This 
will I take, and with the more thanks, the sooner 
I may come hence away." Sithence the king let 
flit Earl Finn up aland, and the Hallanders gave 
him good welcome. Thereafter King Harald held 
his host north into Norway, and fared first to 
Oslo, and there he gave home-leave to all his host 
that would fare. 


SO say men that King Svein sat that winter 
in Denmark, and held his realm as before. 
He sent that winter north to Halland after 
Karl the bonder and his wife, and when they came 
to the king he calls Karl to him. Then asked the 
king if Karl knew him, or deemed he had seen 
him before. Karl answered : " I know thee now, 
king, and I knew thee before, so soon as I saw 
thee, and it is thanks to God that the little fur- 
therance which I gave thee turned out for thine 
avail." The king answered : " All the days that I 
shall live sithence, for them I have to reward thee. 
Now shall the first thing be this, that I give thee 
any stead in Sealand thou choosest for thyself; 
and that withal, that I shall make a great man of 
thee, if thou cannest to handle it." 

Karl thanked the king well for his words and 
said : " There is still left a boon which I will bid 
of thee." The king asked what that was. Karl 

LXX Story of Har aid the Hard-redy. 143 

said : " I will bid thee this, that thou, king, let me 
take my wife with me." The king answered : 
" That I will not give thee, for I shall get for thee 
a wife much better and wiser. Let thy wife fare 
with the cot-stead that ye have had hitherto ; that 
will be furtherance for her." 

The king gave to Karl a mickle stead and 
noble, and fetched him a good wedding, and so he 
became a man of great account ; that was far- 
famed and heard wide, and north into Norway it 


KING HARALD sat in Oslo the winter 
next after the battle of Niz. I n the autumn, 
when the host came from the south, 
there was much talking and telling of the battle 
which had been that harvest off the Niz, for each 
one who had been there deemed he knew some- 
thing to tell of. On a time certain men sat in a 
certain under-croft a-drinking, and were all full of 
talk. They talked over the battle of Niz, and 
therewithal which had borne away the most word- 
glory thence. And they were all of one accord that 
no man there had been such as Earl Hakon : he 
had been the boldest under weapons, the cun- 
ningest and the luckiest, and that was of the 
greatest help which he did, and he wan the 

King Harald was outside there in the garth 
a-talking with certain men. Sithence he walked 

144 The Saga Library. LXXI 

past the bower-door and said : " Here every 
one would be hight Hakon," and so went his 


EARL HAKON went in the harvest to 
the Uplands, and sat there through the 
winter in his dominion ; he was right 
well beloved of the Uplanders. As time wore on 
through spring, it befell on,a while, whenas men sat 
by the drink, that again the talk fell on the battle of 
Niz, and men praised much Earl Hakon, but 
othersome brought others no less forward than 
him. Now when they had talked thereof a while, 
one of the men answered and said : " Maybe 
that more men than Earl Hakon fought boldly 
off the Niz, yet no one will have been there, as I 
think, to whom such good hap sought as to him." 
They said that will have been his most good hap 
that he drave to flight a many of the Danes. 
Answered that same : " A greater good hap was 
this, that he gave life to King Svein." Then 
another answered : " Thou wilt not be wotting 
that which thou sayest" He answers : "This 
wot I ail-clearly ; whereas he told me himself, who 
brought the king to land." 

But it was as oft is said, " Many are the king's 
ears ; " and the king was told hereof. And 
forthwith the king let take a many horses, and 
straightway the same night he rode off with two 
hundred men, and rode on all night and the day 

LXXI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 145 

after. Then there rode against them some men 
who were faring down to the town with meal and 
malt. There was a man, hight Gamal, who was 
in the following of the king. He rode up to one 
of these bonders, who was a friend of his, and 
they fell to privy talk. Said Gamal : " I will make 
a bargain with thee, that thou ride thy very 
swiftest by hidden ways, whereby thou knowest it 
shortest, and come to Earl Hakon and tell him 
that the king will slay him, whereas the king now 
knoweth that the earl cast King Svein on land off" 
the Niz." This bargain they struck between them. 
Rode the bonder, and came to the earl where he 
sat at the drink, and was not gone to sleep. And 
when the bonder had told his errand, the earl 
stood up forthwith and all his men. The earl let 
flit all his chattels from the stead into the wood, 
and all men fared away from the homestead that 
very night. 

Whenas the king came, he tarried there through 
the night. But Earl Hakon rode his ways and 
came east down into the Swede-realm to King 
Steinkel, and tarried with him through the 
summer. King Harald turned back down to the 
town, and in the summer the king went north to 
Thrandheim and tarried there, but fared back east 
into the Wick by harvest. 


146 The Saga Library. LXXII-III 


EARL HAKON went forthwith that 
summer back to the Uplands so soon as 
he heard that the king was gone north, 
and there he tarried till the king came back from 
the north. Then the earl went east into Verm- 
land, and dwelt there long through the winter, and 
King Steinkel gave to the earl the rule of that 
land. He fared in winter, as it wore, west unto 
Raumrealm, and had a great host, which the Gaut- 
folk and Vermlanders had fetched him. And then 
took he his land-dues and scat from the Uplanders, 
such as were indeed his own. Sithence he fared 
back east to Gautland, and dwelt there through 
the spring. King Harald sat the winter through in 
Oslo, and sent off his men to the Uplands, to 
gather there scat and land-dues, and the king's 
fines. But the Uplanders said this much, that 
they would pay all dues which it behoved them to 
pay, and fetch them into the hand of Earl Hakon 
while he was alive, and had not fordone himself 
or his dominion ; and the king got thence no land- 
dues that winter. 


THAT winter words and messengers fared 
between Norway and Denmark, and that 
was in the bounden terms, that either, 
Northmen and Danes, would make peace and 

\\III .V- n ' . ' ' ': '. // /;;/-;/ 


148 The Saga Library. LXXIII 

And when the kings met, men took to talking 
over the appeasement of the kings. But so soon 
as this was had in mouth, then a many bewailed 
the scathes they had gotten from harrying, in 
robberies, to wit, and man-loss ; and it was long 
that it looked unlikely for peace. As is said 

here : 

Then when the men of each side 
Be met, tell the brisk bonders 
Much high all-many words there, 
E'en such as anger menfolk. 
The thanes who strive all through it, 
Toward peace turn not o'er swiftly, 
And in the very lord-kings 
As yet the high heart swelleth. 

If peace shall be, all-peril 
Of the kings' wrath shall be therewith ; 
They who do know peace-making 
In scales shall weigh all matters. 
Behoves the kings to say forth 
Whatso the host well liketh. 
If the folk must part yet worser, 
That wieldeth wilful griping. 

Thereupon the best men, and those who were 
wisest, took matters in hand, and then the kings 
came to peace on these terms, that Harald should 
have Norway, and Svein Denmark unto those 
land-marches which of old had been between Nor- 
way and Denmark. Neither should boot the 
other; warfare should be laid down as it had 
begun, and he to have the hap who had gotten it ; 
this peace should stand while both they were 
kings. This atonement was bounden by oaths, and 
sithence both kings handed over borrows, even as 
is said here : 

LX XIV Story ofHarald the Hard-redy. 1 49 

This have I heard, that Harald 
And Svein gave borrows gladly 
Each unto each 'gainst troubles. 
Twas God that this hath ruled. 
There was appeasement locked 
With witnesses and full peace. 
Let them so hold the sworn oaths 
That neither folk shall shard it. 

King Harald held his host north into Norway, 
but King Svein fared south to Denmark. 


KING HARALD was in the Wick that 
summer, but sent his men to the Uplands 
for his dues and scat which he owned 
there. Then made the bonders no payment, and 
quoth that they would let all that bide Hakon 
the Earl, if he were coming to them. Earl 
Hakon was then in upper Gautland, and had a 
great host. But as summer wore, King Harald 
held east for King's Rock ; sithence he took all such 
light skiffs as he might get, and held up along the 
Elf, and had them drawn off the water where 
waterfalls were in the way, and flitted the craft 
up into Vener-water. Sithence he rowed east 
over the water to where he heard was Earl 
Hakon. But when the earl got news of the 
farings of King Harald, he sought down from the 
land, and willed not that the king should harry 
them. Earl Hakon had a great host which the 
Gauts had fetched him. King Harald laid his 
ships up into a certain river-mouth ; sithence he 

150 The Saga Library. LXXIV 

set out on a land-raid, but left some of his folk to 
guard the ships. The king himself rode, and 
some of his folk, but by far the most part went 
afoot. They had to fare over a certain wood, and 
there were before them certain bush-beset mires, 
and then a holt. And when they came up on the 
holt, they saw the earl's host ; there was a mire 
between them. Then both arrayed them forth- 

Then said King Harald that his folk should sit 
up on the bank, " and try we first, if they be minded 
to make an onset. Earl Hakon is reckless," said 

The weather was frosty, and somewhat of snow 
driving. Harald and his men sat under their 
shields, but the Gauts had but little raiment, and 
grew starved of cold. The earl bade them 
abide till the king should set on, and they were 
standing all alike high. 

Earl Hakon had the banners which King 
Magnus Olafson had owned. 

The lawman of the Gauts hight Thorvith ; he 
sat on a horse the reins whereof were bound to a 
stake which stood in the mire ; he spake and said : 
" God knows that we have a great host and ex- 
ceeding valiant men : let King Steinkel hear that 
we be of good avail to this good earl. I wot, 
that though the Northmen fall upon us, we shall 
meet them dauntlessly. But if the youth fall out of 
order and bide not, let us run no further than to this 
brook here ; but if the youth fall out of order yet 
more, as I wot will not be, then run we no further 
than to the howe here." 

LXXI V Story ofHaraldthe Hard-redy. 1 5 1 

In that nick of time leapt up the host of the 
Northmen, and whooped the war-whoop, and beat 
on their shields, and then took the Gaut-host to 
whoop withal. Now the horse of the lawman 
pulled so hard, whereas he was frighted by the 
war-whoop, that the stake came up, and flew 
about the head of the lawman, who said : 
" Wretchedst of all Northmen for thy shot ! " 
And therewith the lawman galloped away. 

King Harald had beforehand thus bidden his 
host : " Though we make din and whooping about 
us, go we not beyond this bank before they come 
hither to us." And they did so. But so soon as 
the war-whoop came up, the earl let bear forth 
banner, but when the Gauts came up under the 
bank, the host of the king cast themselves down 
upon them ; straightway then fell some of the 
earl's folk, and some fled. The Northmen drave 
the flight no long way, for this was at the eve of 
day. They took the banner of Earl Hakon, and 
what they might of weapons and raiment. The 
king let bear before him both banners as he fared 

They spake between them, whether the earl 
would be fallen ; but when they rode down through 
the wood, they might ride but one man along the 
way. Then leapt a man right across the way, 
and thrust a spear through him who bore the 
banner of the earl ; he gripped the banner-staff, 
and galloped off therewith the other way into the 

But when this was told to the king, he said : 
"The earl is alive ; fetch me my byrny." 

152 The Saga Library. LXXV 

The king rides to his ships through the night. 
Many said the earl had wrought his revenge. 
Then sans: Thiodolf : 

So the stark king hath wielded 
That Steinkel's host, that war-help 
Should give to the earl fight-merry, 
To hell is given over. 
Saith he who makes it fairer, 
Swiftly aback turned Hakon 
Whereas his hope of helping 
Thencefrom but ill was proven. 


KING HARALD was aboard his ship the 
rest of that night, but in the morning, 
when it was light, ice was laid all around 
the ships, so thick that one might walk all about 
them. Then the king bade his men cut the ice 
from the ships, and out into the Water ; so went 
the men then and fell to the ice-hewing. Magnus, 
the son of Harald, steered the ship which lay 
nethermost in the river-mouth, and nearest to the 
Water. But when men had much hewn out 
through the ice, a man came running out along the 
ice to where the breaking of it was going on, and 
set to cutting the ice, as if he were wood and 
bewitched. Then a man said : " Now is it the 
same again as oft, that none bears a hand so 
well to whatsoever he goeth about, as doth Hall 
Kodran's-bane ; see now whatwise he heweth the 

But that man was aboard Magnus' ship hight 

LXXVI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 153 

Thormod, son of Eindridi : so when he heard 
Kodran's-bane named, then ran he on Hall and 
smote him a bane-stroke. Kodran was the son of 
Gudmund, the son of Eyolf, but Valgerd was sister 
of Gudmund, and mother of Jorun, the mother of 
Thormod. Thormod was one winter old when 
Kodran was slain, and never had he seen Hall, the 
son of Utrygg, before. 

By this was the ice hewn out to the Water, and 
Magnus laid his ship out into the Water, and took 
to his sail forthwith and sailed west over the Water. 
But the king's ship lay uppermost in the wake, and 
he got out latest. Hall had once been in the 
king's following, and he was now as wroth as might 
be. The king came late into haven, and by that time 
Magnus had shoved the slayer off into the wood 
and bade boot for him. But things were on the 
point of the king falling on Magnus and his men, 
until the friends of both came thereto and appeased 


THIS winter King Harald fared up into 
Raumrealm, and had much folk. He bare 
guilts to hand on the bonders that they 
had withheld from him dues and scat, but had 
strengthened his foemen in unpeace against him ; 
so he let take the bonders, and some he maimed, 
some he slew, and many he robbed of all they 
had. They fled away who might bring it about. He 
let burn the countrysides wide about and make an 
utter waste. So says Thiodolf : 

154 The Saga Library. LXXVI 

The awer of holm-dwellers 
Took hard rein on the Raumfolk ; 
The war-ranks of wight Harald 
Fast there meseems went forward. 
There was the vengeance fashioned 
By bidding of the lord-king, 
And then the high-wrought root-dog 
Made meek the wretched bonders. 

Then King Harald went up into Heathmark, 
and burnt there, and did war-work there no less 
than in the other place. Thence he went down to 
Hathaland and Ringrealm, and burnt there, and 
fared all with war-shield up. So says Thiodolf : 

Burned wealth of angry thanes there ; 
Fast caught the gleeds on thatches ; 
The shaker of the war-dukes 
With ill stone smote Heathmarkers. 
Folk craved life ; but the fire 
Passed dreadful doom on Ringfolk, 
Or ever there the downfall 
Of the bane of Half was gotten. 

After that the bonders laid all the matter under 
the king's hand. 

From the death of King Magnus fifteen winters 
passed away ere was the battle of Niz, and after 
that two winters until kings Harald and Svein 
made peace. So says Thiodolf: 

The steel did bite the war-shields 
Off strand ; but in the third year 
That strife the Herds' king anchored. 
Folk took the peace for shelter. 

After their peace there was the king's quarrel 
with the Uplanders for three half years. So says 

LXXVII Harald the Hard-redy. 155 

Hard speaking that all duly 
Should mate the works whereby now 
The king taught those Uplanders 
To have an idle ploughshare. 
The wise king's head hath gotten 
Itself through these three half years 
Such fame, so long that ever 
Henceforth shall it be lasting. 


EDWARD, son of Ethelred, was king in 
England after Hordaknut his brother ; 
he was called Edward the Good, and so 
he was. The mother of King Edward was Queen 
Emma, daughter of Richard the Rouen-earl ; her 
brother was Earl Robert, the father of William the 
Bastard, who then was duke in Rouen of Normandy. 
King Edward had to wife Queen Gyda, the daughter 
of Earl Godwin, son of Wulfnoth. The brothers of 
Gyda were these: Earl Tosti, the oldest; the second, 
Earl Morcar; the third, Earl Walthiof ; the fourth, 
Earl Svein ; the fifth, Harald, who was the 
youngest ; he was brought up at the court of King 
Edward, and was his fosterson, and the king loved 
him exceeding much, and had him for son, for the 
king had no bairn. 

156 The Saga Library. LXXVIII 


IT befell on a summer that Harald Godwinson 
had to go on a journey to Bretland, and fared 
a-shipboard. But when they came into the 
open sea, contrary winds took them, and they 
drave off into the main. They took land west in 
Normandy, and had gotten a storm man-perilous. 
They put in to the town of Rouen, and there found 
Earl William ; he took Harald and his fellows 
fainly, and Harald abode there long in the harvest 
in good cheer, whereas storms were on, and there 
was no faring by sea. But as it wore toward winter, 
the earl and Harald talked over it, how that 
Harald should dwell there winter over. Harald 
sat in the high-seat on one hand of the earl, and 
on the other hand of him sat the earl's wife ; she 
was fairer than any woman that men have seen. 
Ever they all talked together gamesomely at the 
drink. The earl oftenest went early to sleep, but 
Harald sat long at night on talk with the earl's 
wife ; and so it fared long in winter-tide. 

On a time as they talked, she says : "Now 
has the earl talked with me, and asked what we 
would be always talking about, and now he is 
wroth." Harald answers : " We shall now at the 
swiftest let him know all our converse." So the 
next day Harald called the earl to talk with him, 
and they went into the council chamber, where was 
then the earl's wife and their council. So Harald 
took up the word and said : " This I have to tell 
thee, earl, that more abideth behind my coming 

LXXIX-LXXX Harald the Hard-redy. 157 

hither than I have hitherto borne forth to thee. I 
am minded to bid thy daughter for my wedded 
wife ; I have talked this over with her mother oft, 
and she has promised me that she would further the 
case with thee." 

Now so soon as Harald had upborne this 
matter, all they who were there took it well and 
flitted it before the earl, and the matter came to 
this at last, that the maiden was betrothed to 
Harald. But whereas she was young, there was 
settled certain winters' delay of the bridal. 


BUT when spring came, Harald arrays his 
ship and fares away, and he and the earl 
parted in mickle great love. So Harald 
went out to England to see King Edward, and 
came not to Valland sithence for his bride. King 
Edward ruled over England for three and twenty 
winters, and died in sick bed in London on the 
nones of January ; he was laid in earth at Paul's 
Church, and Englishmen call him holy. 


THE sons of Earl Godwin were then the 
mightiest men in England. Tosti was 
appointed captain over the host of the 
English king, and was land-ward when the king 
began to fall into eld, and was set above all 

158 T lie Saga Library. LXXX 

other earls. Harald his brother was ever in 
the court, and was the next man to the king in all 
service, and had all the king's treasures to heed. 

That is men's say, that when it wore towards 
the death of the king, Harald was then nigh about 
him, and but few other men. Then Harald louted 
over the king, and said : " Hereto I call you to 
witness, that the king gave me now the kingdom 
and all might in England." 

Thereupon the king was carried dead from the 
bed. The same day there was a meeting of lords, 
whereat was talked who should be taken to king. 
Then let Harald bear forth his witnesses that 
King Edward gave him the kingdom on his 
dying day. So ended that meeting, that Harald 
was taken to king, and was hallowed with king- 
hallowing on the thirteenth day in Paul's Church. 
Then all the lords of the land, and all the folk, 
yielded him fealty. But when his brother, Earl 
Tosti, heard this, it liked him ill, for he thought 
that he was no worse worthy to be king. " I will," 
said he, " that the lords of the land choose him for 
a king, whom they deem best fitted thereto." 
And these words fared between the brothers. 
King Harald so said, that he will not give up the 
kingdom, inasmuch as he had been set down in 
the king's seat, in that place which was the king's 
own, and had been anointed sithence and king- 
hallowed. Moreover, all the might of the multi- 
tude turned towards him, and he had all the 
treasures of the king to boot. 

LXXXI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 159 


N" OW when King Harald was ware that 
his brother Tosti would have him out 
of the kingdom, he trowed him but 
ill ; for Tosti was a very wise man, a mickle 
warrior, and well befriended among the lords of 
the land. So King Harald took away from Earl 
Tosti the host-ruling and all power he had had 
before beyond other earls there in the land. Earl 
Tosti would in no wise thole it, to be the servant 
of his own brother ; so he fared away with his 
folk south over sea into Flanders, and dwelt there 
a little while ; and then fared to Friesland, and so 
thence to Denmark to find King Svein his kins- 
man. But Wolf the Earl, the father of Svein, and 
Gyda, the mother of Earl Tosti, were brother and 
sister. The earl craved of King Svein help and 
men-giving. King Svein bade him home to him, 
and says he shall have an earl's dominion in Den- 
mark, such as thereby he shall be a lord of wor- 
ship there. But the earl answered: " This am I 
yearning for, to fare to England back to mine 
heritage ; but if I get no strength thereto from 
thee, king, then will I rather lay this before thee, 
that I give thee all the strength that I have to 
hand in England, if thou wilt fare with the Dane- 
host to England to win the land, even as did 
Knut, thy mother's brother." The king answered : 
" So much less a man am I than King Knut my 
kinsman, that scarce may I hold the Dane-realm 
for the Northmen. Knut the Old owned Den- 

160 The Saga Library. LXXXII 

mark of heritage, and England by war and battle ; 
yet was that, for a while, not unlocked for, that he 
might lay down life there ; but Norway he got 
without battle. Can I bemind me more measurely 
after my little matter than after the great deeds of 
Knut my kinsman." 

Then spake Earl Tosti : " Lesser becomes now 
my errand hither than I had weened that thou 
wouldst let it be, and thou such a noble man, in. 
the need of me, thy kinsman. Now maybe that 
I seek friendship thither whereas mickle un- 
meeter it is, yet it may be that I may find that 
lord who will blink less at much greater redes than 
thou doest, king." 

Thereupon king and earl parted, and were not 
the best of friends. 


SO Earl Tosti wended on his way, and came 
forth into Norway, and went to see King 
Harald, who was then in the Wick. But 
when they met, the earl bore up his errand before 
the king, telling him all about his journey from 
the time he fared from England, and bids the king 
to lend him aid to seek his kingdom in England. 
The king answered thus : that the Northmen 
would not be over-eager to fare to England a-war- 
fare, and to have there an English lord to rule 
over them. " Men say," says he, " that those 
Englishmen there are not all-trusty." 

The earl answered : " Whether is that sooth, 

LX XXII Story of HaraldtheHard-redy. 1 6 1 

that I have heard men say in England, that King 
Magnus, thy kinsman, sent men to King Edward, 
and that was in the word-sending, that King 
Magnus owned England no less than Denmark, 
for taken heritage after Hordaknut, even as the 
oaths of them had stood thereto." 

The king answered : " Why then did he not 
have it, if he owned it ? " 

Answered the earl : " Why hast thou not 
Denmark, even as King Magnus had it before 

The king answered : " The Danes have no 
cause to boast them against us Northmen, for 
many a brand have we burnt on those kinsmen of 

Then said the earl : " If thou wilt not to tell 
me, then will I tell thee : for this cause did King 
Magnus make Denmark his own, that the lords 
of the land gave him aid ; but for this cause thou 
gatst it not, that all the folk of the land withstood 
thee. And therefore it was that King Magnus 
battled not for England, that all the folk of the 
land would have Edward for king. Now if thou 
wilt make England thine own, I may so do, that 
the more part of the lords in England shall be thy 
friends and furtherers, for I lack nought against my 
brother Harald save the king's name only. That 
wot all men, that no such warrior as thou has been 
born in the Northlands, and that meseemeth won- 
derful that thou shouldst have been righting for 
Denmark these fifteen years, but wilt not have 
England which now lieth loose before thee." 

King Harald thought carefully over what the 

v. M 

1 62 The Saga Library. LX XXII 

earl said, and understood that much of what he 
spoke was true, and, on the other hand, was fain 
to get that realm. 

Sithence king and earl talked together long and 
oft ; and they set this counsel between them, that 
in the summer they should fare to England and 
win the land. King Harald sent word over all 
Norway, and bade out a levy, one half of the all- 
men war-muster. 

Now this was much befamed, and many were 
the guesses how the journey would fare. Some 
folk spake, and told the tale of all the great 
deeds of King Harald, that this was not a matter 
beyond his dealing ; but some said that England 
would be hard to seek to, whereas the man-folk 
thereof were an exceeding many, and that host 
which is called the Thingmen-host was so doughty, 
that one man of them was of better avail than any 
two of the best men of Harald. Then answered 
Wolf the Marshal : 

Unloath I gat wealth ever ; 

No need unto the marshals 

Of the king, that they should turn them 

To the prow-room of King Harald, 

If two of us shall give back 

Before one Thingman only. 

Bright linen-brent, I taught me 

Other than that in youth days. 

That spring Wolf the Marshal died. King 
Harald stood over his grave, and spake as he 
turned away therefrom : " There now lies he, who 
was the most faithful and the most dutiful to his 

LXXXIII Harald the Hard-redy. 163 

In the spring Earl Tosti sailed west to Flanders, 
to meet the company that had followed him out 
from England, and that other which had gathered 
to him both from England and there in Flanders. 


KING HARALD'S host gathered toge- 
ther at the Solund Isles. But when 
King Harald was ready to put out from 
Nidoyce, he went first to the shrine of King Olaf 
and unlocked it, and cut his hair and nails, and 
then locked the shrine and cast the keys out into 
the Nid, and the shrine of Olaf the Holy has 
never been unlocked sithence. At this time were 
worn from his fall five and thirty winters, and he 
lived thirty and five winters withal in this world. 

King Harald, with the folk that followed him, 
held south to meet his host. There came together 
a mickle host, so that men say how that King 
Harald had wellnigh two hundreds of ships, besides 
victualling keels and small cutters. 

Whenas they lay amidst the Solund Isles, 
dreamed that man who was aboard the king's ship, 
and is named Gyrd. He thought he was there on 
board the king's ship, and looked up to the island, 
and saw where stood a mickle troll-quean, who 
had a short-sword in one hand and a trough in 
the other ; he thought, withal, that he saw over 
all their ships, and that a fowl sat on the prow of 
each ship, and it was all ernes and ravens. The 
troll-quean sang : 

1 64 The Saga Library. LXXXIV 

Sure 'tis that the all-wielder 

From the east is egged on westward, 

To meet with a many knuckle : 

My gain shall that be soothly. 

Corpse heath-cock there may choose him 

His meat ; he wots there waits him 

Due steak from the lord-king's stem-hawks ; 

Unceasing there I follow. 


THORD is a man named who was aboard 
that ship that lay a short way from the 
king's ship. He dreamed on a night that 
he saw the fleet of King Harald fare towards land, 
and thought that he wotted that was England. 
On the land he saw a great array, and thought 
that both sides were making ready for battle, and 
had many banners aloft. But before the host of 
the landsmen rode a mickle troll-quean, and sat on 
a wolf; and had that wolf the corpse of a man in 
his mouth, and blood fell about the chaps of it. 
And when he had eaten that man, the troll-quean 
cast another into his mouth, and sithence one 
after the other; but each one he gulped. She 
sang : 

The bride of the brood of giants 
Scatheful sees ill-fare fated 
To the king ; and lets a red shield 
Shine as it draws toward battle. 
Man's flesh the woman flingeth 
To yawning chaps ; mad-faring 
The quean the wolf's mouth dyeth 
All inwardly with man's blood. 

LXXXV-VI HaraldtheHard-redy. 165 


MOREOVER, King Harald dreamed on 
a night that he was at Nidoyce and 
met King Olaf his brother, and he sang 
this song to him : 

Famed King the Thick fought battle 
Most conquering for the fame's sake ; 
A holy fall to earthward 
I gat for that I at home sat. 
Of this I still am fearsome 
That, king, thy death beginneth ; 
God wields this not : thou fillest 
The steeds of the greedy troll-wife. 

Many other dreams were then told and other kind 
of forebodings, and the most were heart-heavy. 

King Harald, ere he should fare from Thrand- 
heim, had let take his son Magnus to king, and 
when King Harald went away he set Magnus in 
kingdom in Norway. Thora, Thorberg's daughter, 
was also left behind, but Queen Ellisif fared with 
him, and her daughters Maria and Ingigerd. Olaf, 
the son of King Harald, fared also with him from 
out the land. 


BUT when King Harald was boun, and fair 
wind fell, he sailed out into the main, and 
came in from the main to Hjaltland, but 
some of his host made the Orkneys. King Harald 

1 66 The Saga Library. LXXXVI 

lay there but a little while before he sailed for the 
Orkneys, and had with him thence a mickle host, 
and the Earls Paul and Erlend, the sons of Earl 
Thorfinn ; and he left behind there Queen Ellisif 
and their daughters, Maria and Ingigerd. Thence 
he sailed south along Scotland and then along 
England, and made land at the land which 
hight Cleveland. There he went aland, and har- 
ried forthwith, and laid the land under him, and 
none withstood him. Thereupon King Harald 
made for Scarborough, and fought with the towns- 
men. He went upon the cliff that there is, and 
let do there a mickle bale, and laid fire therein. 
And as the bale was ablaze they took big forks 
and shot the bale down into the town ; took to 
burn then one house after another, and then all 
the town gave itself up ; and there the Northmen 
slew many men, and took all the wealth they could 
lay hold on. No choice there was then for 
Englishmen, if they would have life, but to go under 
the hand of King Harald. So then he laid under 
him all the land whereso he fared. Sithence King 
Harald went south along the land with all the 
host and made Holderness. There came a gather- 
ing against him, and King Harald had battle there, 
and got the victory. 

. 167 


SITHENCE fared King Harald into Hum- 
ber, and up along the river, and laid there 
to land. Then were the earls up in York, 
Earl Morcar, to wit, and Earl Walthiof his brother, 
with an overwhelming host. Then lay King 
Harald in Ouse, when the host of the earls came 
down on him. Then went King Harald aland 
and took to arraying his host ; one arm of the 
array stood forth on the river-bank, while the 
other stretched inland towards a certain dyke. 
There was a fen deep and broad, and full of water. 
The earls let their battle-array sink down along 
the river with all the host thereof. The king's 
banner was anigh to the river, and there was the 
array full thick, but thinnest towards the dyke, and 
that folk the least trusty. Then the earls sought 
down along the dyke, and that arm of the North- 
men's battle that reached to the dyke gave way 
before them, and the Englishmen sought forward 
after them, and thought that the Northmen would 
flee. It was the banner of Morcar that fared 
forward there. 


BUT when King Harald saw that the array 
of the Englishmen was come down along 
the ditch right against them, he let blow the 
war-blast and egged on his battles ail-eagerly, and 

1 68 The Saga Library. LXXXVIII 

let bear forth the banner Landwaster. Quickened 
the onset then so hard that all shrank before it, 
and mickle man-fall was in the host of the earls. 
Then speedily turned the host to flight, some flee- 
ing up along the river, some down, but the most 
part ran out into the dyke, and so thick lay there 
the slaughter, that the Northmen could walk dry- 
shod across the fen. There was lost Earl Morcar, 
as says Stein, son of Herdis : 

Much folk in the fen forlorn was. 
The sunken men were drowned. 
Unfew of yore the lads lay 
All round about young Morcar. 
Man's lord the flight drave forward. 
To strong flight took the war-host 
Before the king the nimble. 
Olaf high-minded wots him 

This drapa Stein, son of Herdis, wrought on 
Olaf, son of King Harald, and here it is said that 
Olaf was in the fight with his father, King Harald. 
This is told of also in Harald's stick : 

Lay a-fallen 
Down in fen there 
Walthiof's people, 
Hewn by weapons, 
So that the war-whet 
Northmen might be 
Going over 
On corpses only. 

Earl Walthiof and what escaped of his host fled 
up to the town of York, and there befell the 
greatest man-fall. The battle was on the Wednes- 
day next before Matthew-mass. 

LXXXIX Harald the Hard-redy. 169 


EARL TOSTI had come west away from 
Flanders to King Harald so soon as he 
came to England, and the earl was in all 
these battles. And now it came to pass, even as 
he had told Harald before they met, that a multi- 
tude of men drifted to them in England that were 
kin and friends of Earl Tosti, and that was to the 
king mickle strength of men. After this battle 
which is aforesaid, all the folk of the countrysides 
anigh went under King Harald ; but some fled. 
Then King Harald set about his way to win the 
city, and laid his ship-host at Stamford Bridge. 
But whereas the king had won so mickle victory 
over great lords and overwhelming odds, all folk 
were afraid, and deemed it hopeless to withstand 
him. Then made the townsmen that rede for them, 
to send bidding to King Harald, to offer themselves 
to his wielding, and the town withal. This was 
all so bidden, that on the Sunday the king went 
with all his host to the town, and the king and his 
men set a Thing without the town, and the towns- 
folk sought to the Thing, and all folk yeasaid it, 
to be under obedience to King Harald, and gave 
him to hostage sons of high-born men, even 
according as Earl Tosti could wit how to tell of 
all men in that town. So the king fared in the 
evening to his ships with victory self-made, and 
was right joyful. A Thing was summoned in the 
town betimes on the Monday ; thereat should 
King Harald dight that stead with men of 
dominion, and give right and fief. 

170 The Saga Library. XC 

That same evening after sunset came up from 
the south toward the town King Harald Godwin- 
son with an overwhelming host. He rode into the 
town by the grace and goodwill of all the people 
thereof. Then were all the town-gates taken and 
all the ways, so that no news should come to 
the Northmen. This host was in the town night- 


ON the Monday, when King Harald had 
taken day-meal, he let blow to land-wend- 
ing. Then he arrays the host, and deals 
the folk, who shall fare, and who be left behind. 
He let two men go up out of every company for 
every one left behind. Earl Tosti arrayed him 
for the up-going with King Harald, he and his 
company. But behind, for the guarding of the 
ships, were Olaf, the king's son, and Paul and 
Erlend, the Earls of Orkney, also Eystein Heath- 
cock, son of Thorberg Arnison, who at this time 
was the most renowned and most dear to the king 
of all the landed-men. Then had King Harald 
behight him Maria his daughter. 

The weather was wondrous good, and hot the 
sunshine. The men left behind their byrnies, and 
went up with shields and helms and spears, and 
girt with swords. Many also had shot and bows ; 
and they were right merry. 

But when they drew anigh the town, there rode 
out against them a mickle host ; saw they the 

X C I Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 1 7 1 

horse-reek, and thereunder fair shields and white 

Then the king stayed his host, and let call to 
him Earl Tosti, and asked what host that might 
be. The earl answered and said he thought it 
most like that this would be unpeace ; but said 
that mayhappen these would be some kinsmen 
of his seeking for mercy and friendship, and to 
get in return trust and faith of the king. Then 
spake the king and said that they should keep 
quiet at first, and spy the host. So did they, and 
the nearer the host drew, the more it was, and all 
to behold as one ice-heap, whereas gleamed the 


THEN spake King Harald Sigurdson : 
" Take we now some good rede and wise, 
whereas there is no hiding it that unpeace 
is toward, and it will be the king himself." 

Then answered the earl : " That is the first 
thing, to turn back at our swiftest to the ships 
after our folk and our weapons, and then we will 
meet them to our most might ; or else to let our 
ships guard us, for then shall their riders have no 
might over us." 

Then said King Harald : " Other rede will I 
have : to set the swiftest horses under three brisk 
fellows, and they to ride at their swiftest, and tell 
our people, and then speedily will come help from 
them ; for this reason, that the Englishmen shall 

172 The Saga Library. XCII 

have to look for the fiercest brunt from us or ever 
we bear the lower lot." 

Then spake the earl, and bade the king rule in 
this as in other matters, and said withal that he 
was nowise eager for flight. Then let King 
Harald set up his banner Landwaster, and Frirek 
hight he who bare the banner. 


SITHENCE King Harald arrayed his host ; 
he let his array be long and nought thick. 
Then bowed he the arms backward so that 
they met together, and that was a wide ring, and 
thick and even all round about withoutward, shield 
by shield, and so in likewise above ; but the king's 
following was withoutward of the ring, and there 
was the banner, and a chosen company was that. 
In another stead was Earl Tosti with his com- 
pany, and another banner he had. For this cause 
was it so arrayed, that the king knew that riders 
were wont to ride on in knots, and forthwith back 

Now says the king that his company and the 
company of the earl shall go forth there whereas 
need is hardest. "And there, too, shall be our 
bowmen with us; but they that stand foremost 
shall set their spear-tails into the earth, and set 
their points before the breasts of the riders if they 
ride on us ; but they that stand next, let them set 
their spear-points at the breasts of their horses." 

XCIII-IV Harald the Hard-redy. 173 


come there with an overwhelming host 
both of riders and footfolk. Then King 
Harald Sigurdson rode about his battles and 
scanned the manner of their array ; he sat on a 
black blazed horse, and the horse fell under him, 
and the king forward off him ; but he stood up 
swiftly and said : " Fall is faring-luck." 

Then spake Harald the England-king to the 
Northmen that were with him : " Did ye know 
that big man who fell off his horse there, he with 
the blue kirtle and the goodly helm ? " " There 
is the king himself," said they. The England- 
king said : " A big man, and masterful of look ; 
but, belike, forlorn of luck." 


A SCORE of riders of the host of the 
Thingmen rode before the array of the 
Northmen, and were all-byrnied, and their 
horses withal. Then spake a rider : " Whether is 
Earl Tosti in the host ? " He answereth : " That 
is not to laine ; here wilt thou find him." 

Then spake a rider : " Harald thy brother 
sendeth thee greeting, and these words withal : 
that thou shouldst have peace, and all Northum- 
berland ; and rather than that thou shouldst not 
fall in to him, then will he to give thee one-third ot 

174 The Saga Library. XCIV 

all his realm." Answered the earl : " Somewhat 
other bidding than unpeace and shaming, as in 
last winter. Had this been then bidden, many a 
man would be alive now who now is dead, and 
better would stand the kingdom in England. Now 
take I this choice, but what will he bid to King 
Harald Sigurdson for his toil ? " 

Then said the rider : " Said hath he somewhat 
about it, how much he would grant him of England : 
seven foot's room, to wit, or so much longer as he 
is higher than other men." 

Then said the earl : " Fare ye now, and tell 
King Harald to make ready for battle. Another 
thing shall be told forsooth among the Northmen, 
than that Earl Tosti should fare away from King 
Harald Sigurdson, and into the flock of his un- 
friends, whenas he has to fight west in England. 
Nay, rather shall we all take one rede, to die with 
honour or get England by victory." 

Thereupon the knights rode back. Then King 
Harald Sigurdson spoke to the earl : " Who was 
this smooth-spoken man ? " Said the earl : " That 
was Harald Godwinson." Then spake King Harald 
Sigurdson : " Too long was this hidden from us ; 
they were come so nigh unto our host, that nought 
would this Harald have known how to tell the 
death-word of our men." 

Then said the earl : " True is that, lord ; such 
a chief went right unwarily, and well might it have 
been as thou sayest. That saw I, that he would 
bid me peace and mickle rule ; but that I might 
be his banesman if I told of him ; and I will rather 
that he be my banesman than I his." 

XCIV Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 175 

Then spake King Harald Sigurdson to his 
men : " A little man was this, but stiff he stood in 
the stirrup." 

So say men that King Harald Sigurdson sang 
this ditty : 

Forth go we 
In folk-array 
All byrniless : 
(Beneath blue edges 
Shine out the helms) 
Mine have I not. 
Now lie our shrouds 
On ships down yonder. 

Emma hight his byrny ; it was long, so that 
it took him to mid-leg, and so strong that never 
had weapon fastened on it. 

Then spake King Harald Sigurdson : " This is 
ill sung; itbehoveth to make another song better." 
Then sang he this : 

We creep not into shield-bight 
Before the crash of weapons 
In battle : e'en so bade me 
The word-fast Hild of hawk-field. 
The pole of jewels bade me 
Aforetime bear the helm-staff 
High 'mid the din of metal, 
Whereas Hlokk's ice and skulls meet. 

Then sang Thiodolf : 

Although the king his own self 
Fall unto field, nought shall I 
From the king's young heirs be turning. 
Things go as God may will it. 
The sun shines on no clearer 
King-stuff, than is of them twain. 
The avengers of that Harald 
Swift-redy, are hawks doughty. 

176 The Saga Library . XCV 


N" OW heaveth up the battle, and the Eng- 
lishmen fall a-riding on the Northmen ; 
hard were they taken to, and unhandy 
it was to the Englishmen to ride on the Northmen 
because of the shot; so they rode round about 

At the first it was a loose battle, while yet the 
Northmen held well their array, and the English 
rode hard on them, and straightway from them 
when they gat nothing done. 

Now when the Northmen saw that, and them- 
seemed that they were ridden on softly, they fell 
on them, and would drive the flight. But when 
they had broken the shield-burg, then rode the 
Englishmen upon them from all sides, and bore 
on them spears and shot. 

Now when King Harald Sigurdson saw that, 
he went forth into the battle whereas most was 
the weapon-brunt. There was then the hardest 
of battles, and fell much folk on either side. Then 
was King Harald Sigurdson so wood that he 
leapt right out from the ranking, and hewed with 
both hands ; and then held before him nor helm 
nor byrny. Then all they who were nighest him 
fled away, and it was a near thing but the English- 
men would flee. So says Arnor the earls' skald : 

The king, help-shy, before him 
Bare no small breast in helm-din, 
Nor quavered the fight-nimble 
Heart of the king ; there whereas 

XCVI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 177 

The bloody sword of the brisk one, 
The beater-down of king-folk, 
For hersir's need bit warriors. 
Men saw that in the battle. 


smitten in the throat with an arrow, and 
that was his bane-sore ; then fell he and 
all that company which had gone forth with him, 
save them who shrank aback, and these held the 
banner. Yet was there still the hardest of battles. 
Then went Earl Tosti under the king's banner. 
Then fell either side to rank them a second time, 
and then was there a stay of the battle for a long 
while. Then sang Thiodolf : 

The folk hath paid ill tribute ; 
The host's in peril, say I ; 
Needless bade Harald people 
This journey from the eastward. 
The king bepraised abided 
The scathe of life, and so closed 
The life of the king the nimble, 
That hard bestead are all we. 

But ere the battle joined again, King Harald 
Godwinson offered peace to Earl Tosti his brother, 
and those other men who were yet left alive of the 
Northmen's host. But the Northmen whooped 
out with one voice, and said that they would fall 
each athwart the other sooner than take peace of 
Englishmen ; and therewith they whooped the 

V. N 

ij8 The Saga Library. XCVII 

war-whoop, and a second time the battle was 
joined ; as says Arnor the earls' skald : 

The death of the king the dreadful 
Ungainful was ; the spear-points 
With gold inwoven spared not 
The luller of the robbers. 
All men of the bounteous king's host, 
By much they chose to fall there 
Round the fight-nimble leader 
Than take them peace thenceforward. 


AT this nick of time Eystein Heathcock 
came from the ships with what host 
followed him ; they were all-byrnied. 
Then gat Eystein King Harald's banner, Land- 
waster. Now there was a battle for the third time, 
and the hardest of all it was. Fell then much 
English-folk, and were on the very point of taking 
to flight. This fray was called Heathcock's Brunt. 
Eystein and his had gone so exceeding eagerly 
from the ships, that they were so mithered that 
they were wellnigh undone before they came to 
the battle ; but sithence they were so wood, that 
they shielded them nought while they might stand 
up. At last they cast off their ring-byrnies ; and 
then it was easy for the English to find hewing- 
steads on them, but some of them burst altogether, 
and died unwounded. There fell nigh all of the 
great men among the Northmen. This befell at 
the latter end of the day. It was as was to be 
looked for, that it was not even with all men. 

XC VI 1 1 Story ofHaraldthe Hard-redy. 1 79 

Many fled away ; many also were they who got 
away by sundry turns of good luck ; and it fell 
mirk of the evening or ever all the manslaying 
had ended. 


STYRKAR, the marshal of King Harald 
Sigurdson, a most renowned man, came 
away ; he gat him a horse, and so rode 
away in the evening. A wind sprang up, and the 
weather grew somewhat cold ; and Styrkar had no 
more raiment than a shirt, a helm on his head, and 
a naked sword in his hand. He grew cold as his 
weariness wore off. 

There met him on the road a certain wain-carle 
in a lined coat. Then said Styrkar : " Wilt thou 
sell the doublet, bonder ? " " Not to thee, I ween," 
says he ; " thou wilt be a Northman ; I ken thy 

Said Styrkar : " If I be a Northman, what wilt 
thou then ? " The bonder answered : " I would 
slay thee ; but now, so ill it goes, that I have no 
weapon thereto." 

Then said Styrkar : " If thou mayest not slay 
me, I shall try it, if I may not slay thee." And 
therewith he heaved the sword aloft, and set it on 
the neck of him, so that off went the head ; and 
then he took the skin-coat, and leapt on his horse, 
and hied down to the strand. 

180 The Saga Library. XCIX 


Rouen-earl, heard of the death of King 
Edward his kinsman, and that withal, 
that Harald Godwinson was taken to king in 
England, and had taken king-hallow. But William 
deemed himself of better title to the kingdom in 
England than Harald, for kin sake twixt him and 
King Edward ; and withal he deemed he had to 
pay Harald for that shaming whereas he had 
broken off the betrothal to his daughter. 

So by reason of all these things together William 
drew together an host in Normandy, and had a 
right mickle multitude of men and foison of ships. 
The day he rode out of the city to his ships and was 
come on to his horse, his wife went up to him and 
would to speak with him. But when he saw that, he 
kicked at her with his heel, and drove the spur 
against her breast, so that it sunk deep in ; and 
she fell, and got her death forthwith ; but the earl 
rode off to his ships, and fared with the host out to 
England. In his company was Bishop Otto, his 
brother. But when the earl came to England, he 
harried and laid the land under him wheresoever 
he went. Earl William was bigger and stronger 
than any other man, a good knight, the greatest of 
warriors, and somewhat grim-hearted ; the wisest 
of men, but accounted untrusty. 

C The Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 1 8 1 


leave to Olaf, the son of King Harald 
Sigurdson, to fare away, together with 
the company that still kept with him and had not 
fallen in the battle. But King Harald turned 
away with his army into the southern parts of 
England ; for he had then heard that William the 
Bastard fared from the south upon England, and 
laid the land under him. With King Harald there 
were then his brothers, Svein, Gyrd, and Walthiof. 
The meeting of King Harald and Earl William 
befell in the south of England at Helsingport, and 
there was a great battle. There King Harald fell, 
and Earl Gyrd his brother, and a great deal of 
their host. That was nineteen nights after the 
fall of King Harald Sigurdson. Earl Walthiof, 
the brother of Harald, got away by flight, and late 
in the evening the earl met a certain company of 
William's men ; and when they saw the folk of 
Earl Walthiof they fled away into a certain oak 
wood, a hundred of them together. Earl Walthiof 
lay fire in the wood, and let burn all up together. 
So says Thorkel Skallison in Walthiof 's-flock : 

Let there the Ygg of battle, 

An hundred king's own warriors 

Burn up in that hot fire : 

To the men a night of singeing. 

Tis heard that there the men lay 

'Neath claw of steed of troll-quean : 

The dusky steed of alder 

Gat feast of the Frankmen's corpses. 

1 82 The Saga Library. CI-III 


WILLIAM let take him for king in 
England. He sent word to Earl Wal- 
thiof that they should come to peace, 
and he gave him safe-conduct to that meeting. 
The earl went with but few men, and when he 
came upon the heath to the north of Castlebridge, 
there came against him two king's bailiffs with a 
company of men, and took him, and set him in 
fetters, and sithence was he hewn down. The 
Englishmen held him for holy. So says Thorkel : 

William, that reddens metals, 
Who cut the icy main sea 
From southward, has bewrayed 
Brave Walthiof in his trusting. 
Sooth is that late will leave now 
Slaying of men in England : 
No greater lord there dieth 
Than was my lord aforetime. 

Sithence was William king in England for one- 
and-twenty winters, and his offspring ever after 


OLAF, son of King Harald Sigurdson, held 
his host away from England, and sailed 
out from Raven's-ere, and came in the 
autumn to the Orkneys ; and there were the tidings 

CIII Story of H amid the Hard-redy. 183 

toward, that Maria, the daughter of King Harald 
Sigurdson, had died suddenly that same day and 
hour that her father, King Harald, fell. Olaf dwelt 
there through the winter. But the next summer 
Olaf went east to Norway, and was then taken to 
king, together with Magnus, his brother. Queen 
Ellisif went from the west with her stepson, 
Olaf, and Ingigerd her daughter. Then, too, 
came with Olaf from west over the main Skuli, 
who was called sithence the king's fosterer, and 
Ketil Crook, his brother. They were both noble 
men and of high kin of England, and both ex- 
ceeding wise ; they were, moreover, both of them 
of the dearest to the king. Ketil Crook fared 
north into Halogaland, and King Olaf gat him 
there a good wedding, and from him is come a 
many great folk. Skuli, the king's fosterer, was 
a wise man, and of mickle stir, and the goodliest 
of men to look upon ; he became the captain of 
King Olafs bodyguard, and spake at Things, and 
ruled with the king in all land-ruling. King Olaf 
offered Skuli to give him that folkland in Norway 
which he might deem the best, with all such in- 
comings and dues as belonged to the king. Skuli 
thanked him his offer, but let him know that he 
would rather ask of him other things, for this 
reason: " That if there be a change of kings, may- 
be the gift shall be undone. But I will," says he, 
" take with thanks certain lands which lie anigh to 
those cheaping-steads where ye, lord, are wont to 
sit and take Yule-feasts." The king said yea to 
this, and made over to him lands east by King's 
Rock, and by Oslo, by Tunsberg, by Borg, by 

184 The Saga Library. CIV 

Biorgvin, and north by Nidoyce. These were well- 
nigh the best lands in each stead of these, and 
these lands have belonged ever since to those 
kinsmen which are come from Skull's kin. King 
Olaf gave him in marriage his kinswoman Gudrun, 
the daughter of Nefstein. Her mother was Ingi- 
gerd, the daughter of King Sigurd Sow and Asta ; 
and Ingigerdwas the sister of King Olaf the Holy 
and of King Harald. The son of Skuli and Gud- 
run was Asolf of Reini, who had to wife Thora, 
the daughter of Skopti, son of Ogmund. The son of 
Asolf and Thora was Guthorm of Reini, the father 
of Bard, the father of King Ingi and of Duke Skuli. 


ONE winter after the fall of King Harald 
his body was brought from the west out 
of England and north to Nidoyce, and 
was laid in earth in Marychurch, the one he had 
let do. It was the talk of all men that King 
Harald had been beyond other men in wisdom 
and deft rede, no matter whether he should take 
swiftly, or do longsome, a rede for himself or for 
others. He was of all men the boldest under 
weapons ; victorious was he withal, even as now 
has been written this while. So says Thiodolf : 

All-doughty waster of biders 

In Selund brooked his boldness ; 

Heart ruleth half of victory 

Of men, sooth Harald proves it. 

King Harald was a goodly man, and noble to 

CIV Story of Har aid the Hard-redy. 185 

behold ; bleak haired and bleak bearded, his lip- 
beard long ; one eyebrow somewhat higher than 
the other ; large hands and feet, yet either shapely 
waxen ; five ells was the tale of his stature. To 
his unfriends was he grim, and vengeful for 
aught done against him. So says Thiodolf : 

The king rede-heeding pineth 
His thanes for fierceness proven. 
Methinks the king's men bear but 
That which they wield their own selves. 
Sword-sharers have such burdens 
As for themselves they bind up. 
So shareth Harald pinings 
That each brooks truth 'gainst other. 

King Harald was one of the most eager for 
might, and for all manner of good gain ; he was 
much giftful to his friends, them who him liked 
well. So says Thiodolf : 

Wakener of galleys' battle 
Let give me for my song-work 
A mark : he lets deservings 
Be wielders of his favour. 

King Harald was fifty years old when he fell. 
No tales of mark have we about his growing up 
till he was of fifteen winters, even when he was at 
Sticklestead in the battle along with King Olaf 
his brother ; but sithence he lived for five and 
thirty winters, but all that while never without 
uproar and unpeace. King Harald never fled 
from battle, but he often sought to save himself 
in face of overwhelming odds, when he had to deal 
therewith. All men said this, they who followed 
him in battle and on warfare, that, when he was 

1 86 The Saga Library. CV 

bestead in mickle peril, and it came suddenly on 
his hands, that rede would he take up which all 
men saw thereafter was the one likeliest to be of 


HALDOR, the son of Bryniolf the Old, 
the Elephant, was a wise man, and a 
great lord. He spake thus, when he 
heard the talk of men, that they much mis-squared 
the minds of the two brethren, King Olaf the Holy 
and King Harald ; thus said Haldor : " I was 
with both brethren in mickle good liking, and the 
minds of both were known to me. Found I never 
two men more like of mind-shape : both were the 
wisest and the most weapon-bold of men, eager for 
wealth and might, masterful, not the people's men, 
rule-some and pine-some. King Olaf broke down 
the land-folk to christening and the right belief; 
but he punished grimly them who turned deaf 
ears thereto. The lords of the land would not 
thole of him just doom and equal doom, but raised 
up against him an host, and felled him on his own 
land ; and for that he became holy. But King 
Harald harried for his own renown and dominion, 
and broke down under him all folk he might, and 
fell on another king's land. Both these brethren 
were in every-day's manners men of religion and 
of noble bearing ; they were also wide-faring and 
men mickle of toil, and became of such things far- 
famed and highly renowned." 

CVI Story of Harald the Hard-redy. 187 


KING MAGNUS, son of Harald, ruled 
over Norway for the first winter after the 
fall of King Harald ; sithence he ruled 
the land for two winters along with King Olaf, his 
brother. Then were both kings : Magnus had the 
northernmost of the land, Olaf the easternmost. 
King Magnus had a son hight Hakon, him fostered 
Steig-Thorir ; he was the most hopeful of men. 

Now after the fall of King Harald Sigurdson, 
Svein, the Dane-king, claimed that peace was 
sundered between Northmen and Danes ; told, 
that peace had been set no longer than while they 
both lived, Harald and Svein. So there was an 
outbidding in either kingdom. The sons of Harald 
had out before the coasts of Norway an all-folk's 
host both of men and ships, but from the south 
fared King Svein with the host of the Danes. 
And now messengers fared between the two, bear- 
ing message of peace. Said the Northmen that 
they would either hold to the same peace which 
before was made, or otherwise they would fight. 
Therefore this was sung : 

King Olaf his land warded 
With words of war and peace-speech 
Suchwise that no all-wielder 
Durst lay a claim thereunto. 

So, too, says Stein, son of Herdis, in Olafs- 
drapa : 

At Nidoyce, where lies sleeping 
The holy king, will the fight-stern 

1 88 The Saga Library. CVI 

Forbid King Svein his heirship, 
For soothly is he mighty. 
Olaf the king meseemeth 
Will love his kindred highly ; 
Nought need Wolf's-heir be claiming 
To all the land of Norway. 

In this summoned hosting was atonement made 
betwixt the kings, and peace betwixt the lands. 

King Magnus fell sick of the ringworm plague, 
and lay abed a while, and died at Nidoyce, and was 
laid in earth there. He was a king well beloved 
of all folk. 




OLAF was king alone over Norway after 
the death of Magnus his brother. Olaf 
was a man mickle of growth allwise, and 
well-shapen ; that is the say of all men, that never 
a man hath seen one goodlier or more stately to 
behold ; he had yellow hair like silk and wondrous 
well fashioned ; a bright body ; the best eyed of 
men, well-limbed ; few-spoken oftenest, and at 
Things no talker, merry at the ale, a mickle 
drinker ; fond of privy talk and sweet spoken ; 
peaceful withal while his kingdom stood. This 
Stein, the son of Herdis, tells of : 

The edge-bold king of Thrandfolk 

All lands will lay in peace now 

With full enow of wisdom ; 

To menfolk well it liketh. 

To the folk's mind 'tis, that the stout heart, 

The awer of the English, 

Bows down his thanes to peace-ways 

A mickle deal the best-born 

192 The Saga Library. II 


THAT was the ancient wont in Norway 
that the king's high-seat was midst of the 
long-dai's, and ale was borne over the 
fire. But King Olaf was first let do his high-seat 
on the high-dais athwart the hall ; he also was the 
first to build halls with ovens, and to bestraw the 
floor in winter as well as in summer. In the days 
of King Olaf the cheaping-steads of Norway hove 
up much, and some were set up from the begin- 
ning. King Olaf set up a cheaping-stead in 
Biorgvin, and there right soon was a seat of 
wealthy men, and the sailing thither of chap- 
men from other lands. He let rear from its 
ground-sill Christchurch, the great stone-church, 
but little was done of it ; but he let finish the 
wooden church, old Christchurch, to wit. King 
Olaf let set up the Great Gild at Nidoyce, and 
many others in the cheaping towns, but formerly 
there were turn-about drinkings. Then was 
Town-boon, the great bell of the Turn-about 
Drinking, in Nidoyce. The Drinking Brothers 
let build there Margaret's stone-church. In the 
days of King Olaf arose Scot-houses, and Parting- 
drinks in the cheaping-towns ; and then men 
began to take up new fashions, wearing pride- 
hosen, laced to the bone; some clasped golden 
rings around their legs, and then men wore drag- 
kirtles laced to the side, sleeves five ells long, and 
so strait that they must be drawn by an arm-cord 
and trussed all up to the shoulder ; high shoes 

Ill The Story of Olaf the Quiet. 193 

withal, and all sewn with silk, and some em- 
broidered in gold. Many other new-fangled 
fashions there were. 


KING OLAF had these court-customs, to 
wit, that he let stand before his board 
trencher-swains, and they poured to him 
in board-beakers, and also to all men of high 
estate who sat at his table. He had also candle- 
swains, who held up candles before his board, and 
as many of them as men of high degree sat up 
there. Out away from the trapeza was the 
marshals' stool ; there sat the marshals and 
other worthies looking up the hall towards the 
high-seat. King Harald and the kings before 
him were wont to drink out of deer-horns, and to 
bear ale from the high-seat across the fire, and to 
drink a health to whomso they chose. So says 
Stuf the Skald : 

I knew the victory-happy 
Whetter of fight me welcome 
From good wind of the troll-quean ; 
Best was he of acquaintance, 
Whenas the blood-stare's feeder, 
Grim unto rings, went eager 
Himself with horn to-gilded 
At Howe to drink unto me. 


194 The Saga Library. IV-V 


KING OLAF had one hundred of court- 
men and sixty Guests, and sixty house- 
carles such as should flit to the garth 
whatso was needed, or work other matters which 
the king would. But when the bonders asked 
the king why he had more folk than law was 
thereto, or than former kings had had, whenas 
he fared to banquets which the bonders made 
for him, the king answered : " In no better way 
may I rule the realm ; nor is there any more terror 
from me than from my father, though I have half 
as much again of folk as he had; and no wise 
thereby shall penalties come from me, nor am I 
minded to make your lot anywise heavier." 


KING SVEIN, the son of Wolf, died of 
sickness ten winters after the fall of 
the Haralds. Next after him was 
Harald Hone, his son, king in Denmark for 
four winters ; then Knut, the son of Svein, for 
seven winters, and is a saint holy-proven ; then 
Olaf, the third son of Svein, for eight winters ; then 
Eric the Good, a fourth son of Svein, for yet eight 
winters. King Olaf of Norway got to wife Ingirid, 
the daughter of Svein, the Dane-king ; but Olaf the 
Dane-king, son of Svein, got Ingigerd, the daughter 

VI The Story of Olaf the Quiet. 195 

of King Harald, and sister to King Olaf, Norway's 
king. Olaf Haraldson, whom some called Olaf the 
Quiet, and many Olaf Bonder, begat a son on 
Thora, the daughter of Joan, who was named 
Magnus ; that lad was most fair to look upon, and 
right manly-like ; he grew up at the king's court. 


KING OLAF let build a stone minster 
at Nidoyce, and set it in that stead 
where first had been laid in earth the 
body of King Olaf, and the altar was set over 
there, whereas the grave of the king had been. 
There was hallowed Christchurch ; and then the 
shrine of King Olaf was flitted thither and set up 
over the altar, and there befell many miracles 
straightway. The next summer, on the same day 
as the church had been hallowed the year before, 
there was a right great throng ; and on the eve of 
Olaf s-wake a blind man gat his sight there. But 
on the mass-day itself, whenas the shrine and the 
holy relics were borne out, and the shrine was set 
down in the churchyard, as the wont was, a man 
gat his speech who for a long time had been 
dumb, and sang then praise to God and the holy 
Olaf with nimble turn of tongue. A third man 
there was, a woman who had sought thither from 
east away from Sweden, and had in that journey 
tholed mickle need by reason of blindness ; yet 
she trusted in God's mercy, and came faring 
thither to this high-tide. She was led blind into 

196 The Saga Library. VII-VIII 

the minster that day at mass, but or ever the 
hours were done, she saw with both eyes, and was 
keen of sight and bright-eyed, though erst she 
had been blind for fourteen winters ; and in exalted 
joy she left that place. 


THEN this befell in Nidoyce, as the shrine 
of King Olaf was borne down the street, 
so heavy the shrine grew that men might 
not bear it forth from the stead ; and so the shrine 
was set down, and the street was broken up, and 
it was sought what was under there ; and there 
was found a bairn's body, which had been murdered 
and hidden there. It was taken away, and the 
street was mended again as it had been before, 
and the shrine was carried on in the wonted way. 


IN the days of King Olaf there was right 
good year in Norway, and manifold plenty ; 
and through no man's days since Harald 
Hairfair was king, had there been so good seasons 
in Norway as through his. King Olaf softened 
down many of the ordinances which his father 
with masterfulness had set up and holden. He 
was bounteous of wealth, but he held fast his rule, 
and all through his wisdom. And this withal, that 
he saw what was of gain to his kingdom and best ; 

IX The Story of Olaf the Quiet. 197 

and many are the good works of his to tell of. 
Herein may we mark what his goodness must 
have been, and how beloved of his people he was, 
whereas he spake on a day in the Great Guild, and 
he was merry and of good heart. Then spake 
his men : " It is a joy to us, lord, that thou art 
so merry." He answered : " Now shall I be 
merry, when I see glee on my people and freedom, 
and I sit in the midst of the guild which is 
hallowed to the holy King Olaf, my father's 
brother. In the days of my father this people 
lived amidst great turmoil and dread, and most 
men hid away their gold and good things, but 
now I see shine on every man what he hath ; and 
your freedom is my glee." 

Now forsooth throughout his days all was quiet 
from battles, and he wrought peace for himself 
and his people of the outlands ; and yet his 
neighbours stood in great awe of him, though he 
were meek of mind. Even as the skald says : 

Olaf his land so warded 

With words of awe and peace-speech, 

That never an all-wielder 

Durst lay a claim thereunto. 


KING OLAF was a friend of Knut the 
Dane-king ; and King Knut fared to 
meet him, and they met in the Elf, 
where, from of old, had been the trysting-place of 
kings. Talks then King Knut how that he would 

198 The Saga Library. IX 

that they should make an host west to England, 
such matters as they had to avenge, King Olaf 
to begin with, and the Kings of Denmark, more- 
over. " So now do thou one of two things," says 
King Knut ; " either let me fetch thee sixty ships 
and thou be captain of that host, or else, fetch 
thou to me sixty ships, and I shall be captain 

King Olaf answered : " The matter whereof 
thou speakest, King Knut, falls in with my mind ; 
but much uneven it is. Ye kinsmen have borne 
more good luck hereto to win England by valour, 
witness King Knut the Rich; so now, it is most 
like that that goes with the race of you. But when 
King Harald Sigurdson went to England he 
fetched his bane, and so wasted was Norway of the 
best men, that of such like there has been no choice 
sithence in the land ; that journey was arrayed in 
the bravest wise, yet now it turned out as ye wist. 
Now can I to mind of my matter how much 
more I fall short to be captain hereof, so thee 
will I choose, and that thou fare backed by my 

And he fetched him sixty big ships with brave 
array, and trusty crews, and set captains of his 
landed-men thereover ; and it was said that in a 
lordly fashion all that host was found. In the story 
of Knut it is said that the Northmen alone brake 
not the hosting when it was come together ; but 
the Danes abode not; wherefore Knut held the 
Northmen in good account therefor, and gave 
them leave to fare a-cheaping whithersoever they 
would, and sent to the King of Norway glorious 

X The Story of Olaf the Quiet. 199 

gifts for his aid ; but he laid on the Danes his 
wrath and mickle money-fines. 


IT came to pass on a summer, when King 
Olaf s men had fared to gather in his land- 
dues, that the king asked them where they 
were best welcomed. They said it was in one of the 
king's folk-lands. " There," said they, " is a cer- 
tain ancient bonder-carle who knows many things 
beforehand, and we have asked him of many, and 
he has unravelled the same ; and deem we that 
he knoweth the voice of fowl." 

The king spake : " With what fare ye ? this is 
but mickle folly." 

But on a time it befell that the king was faring 
along the land, and spake as they were sailing 
through certain sounds: "What countryside is 
here up aland ? " They answered : " This is the 
folk-land, lord, whereof we told thee that here we 
were best welcomed." Said the king : " What 
house may it be that standeth here by the sound ? " 
"That house owneth that wise man of whom we 
told thee." But they saw a horse beside the 
house, and the king said : " Go ye now, and take 
the horse, and slay it." They say : " Nought will 
we, lord, to do him scathe." The king said : 
" I shall rule ; cut ye the head off the horse, and 
let the blood not fall down, and bring the horse 
aboard my ship ; fare thereafter to fetch the carle, 
and tell him nothing ; and thereon your lives shall 

2oo The Saga Library. X 

Sithence so do they, and tell the carle the king's 
message. And when he met the king, the king 
said : " Who owns the land on which thou 
dwellest?" He answered: "Thou ownest it. 
lord, and takest rent thereof." Then said the 
king : " Tell us the way past the land ; it will be 
known to thee." He did so. 

But as they rowed, flew a crow forth past the 
ship, and went on evilly. The bonder looked 
thereon, and the king spake : " Thinkest thou 
there be aught to heed therein ? " " Yea, certes, 
lord," says he. Therewith flew another crow over 
the ship and screeched. Therewith the bonder 
heedeth no longer the rowing, and the oar became 
loose in his hand. Then said the king : " Much thou 
bodest of that crow, bonder, or of what it saith." 
The bonder said : " Lord, now it misgiveth me 

A third time there flew a crow, and went on 
worst of all, and kept anigh the ship. The bonder 
stood up thereagainst, and heeded nought the 
rowing. The king said : " Of mickle weight thou 
deemest this, bonder ; or what does she say now ?" 
The bonder says : " That which it is unlike I 
should wot, or she." Said the king : "Out with 
it." Then sang the bonder : 

The yearling says it, 
Knows not she ; 
The twinter says it, 
I trow't none the more ; 
The three-year-old saith it, 
Unlike it methinketh : 
Says, I am rowing 
O'er a mare's head, 

X The Story of Olaf the Quiet. 201 

And that thou, king, 
Be thief of my goods. 

Spake the king : " What now, bonder ? Wilt 
thou call me a thief ? " Then the king gave him 
good gifts, and gave him up all his land-dues. So 
says Stein : 

Kin-prop of kings the bounteous 
Giveth the ships high-byrnied 
And round-ships stained : gainsays he 
The niggardness within him. 
The folk the wealth enjoyeth 
Of Olaf. Search king other 
Who such fee to man giveth 
Olaf high-minded wots him 

The gold-free king point-reddener, 
The folk with rings he gladdens ; 
The lord of men he letteth 
Be fain of gifts the bench-throng. 
The nimble King of Norway 
Giveth to Northmen bigly. 
Bounteous is England's waster 
A mickle deal the best-born. 

The kin-great king to men gives 
Such store of helms and byrnies, 
As if nought worth he deemed them ; 
Such gear the king's guard decketh. 
The worthy king he letteth 
The lads take heavy Half's gear 
From him. Thuswise the lord-king 
His guard their toil rewardeth. 

2O2 The Saga Library. XI 


KING OLAF sat often in the countryside 
at his big steads which he owned. But 
whenas he was east in Ranrealm at 
Hawkby his stead, he took that sickness which 
brought him to bane. At that time he had been 
king over Norway for six and twenty winters ; 
but he was taken to king one winter after the fall 
of King Harald. The body of King Olaf was 
flitted north to Nidoyce, and laid in earth at 
Christchurch, which he himself had let build. He 
was a king most well-beloved, and Norway had 
greatly waxen in wealth and beauty under his 




MAGN US, son of King Olaf, was straight- 
way after the death of King Olaf taken 
to king in the Wick over all Norway. 
But when the Uplanders heard of the death of 
King Olaf, they took to king Hakon, Thorir's 
fosterling, a first cousin of Magnus. Sithence fared 
Hakon and Thorir north to Thrandheim, and 
when they came to Nidoyce then summoned he 
the Ere-Thing, and at that Thing Hakon craved 
for him the king's name, and that was given him 
so far that the bonders took him to king over that 
half of the land which King Magnus, his father, 
had had. Hakon took off from the Thrandheim 
folk the land-penny geld, and gave them many 
other law-boot ; he took off from them Yule-gifts 
withal. Then turned all the Thrandfolk to friend- 
ship with King Hakon. Then King Hakon took 
to him a bodyguard, and sithence fared back to 
the Uplands, and gave to the Uplanders all such 
law-boot as to the Thrandheimers, and they also 

206 l^he Saga Library. II 

were his full and fast friends. Then was this sung 
in Thrandheim : 

Young Hakon the fame-bounteous 
Came hither : best of all men 
Upon the earth born is he. 
So with Steig-Thorir fared he. 
Himself he offered sithence 
To give up half of Norway 
To Olaf's son, but bounteous 
Magnus, speech-deft, would all have. 


KING MAGNUS fared in autumn north 
to Cheaping, and when he came there, 
fared he forthwith into the king's garth, 
and abode in the hall and dwelt there the 
early winter. He kept seven longships in an 
open wake in the Nid off the king's garth. But 
when King Hakon heard that King Magnus had 
come to Thrandheim, he fared from the east over 
Dovrafell, and then to Thrandheim and unto 
Cheaping, and he took him harbour in Skuli's-garth 
down below Clement's Church, which was the 
ancient king's court. It liked ill to King Magnus 
the great gifts which King Hakon had given to 
the bonders to win their friendship ; for Magnus 
deemed that his own had been given away no less 
than Hakon's ; and his mind was sore troubled 
thereat, and he deemed him mishandled of his 
kinsman thereby, that he should now have so 
much less incomings than his father had had, or 
his forefathers before him ; and he wited Thorir 

II The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 207 

for this rede. King Hakon and Thorir got to 
know hereof, and misdoubted them as to what 
Magnus might be minded to do, and them-seemed 
that was most doubtful above all, that Magnus 
should have afloat longships tilted and arrayed. 

In the spring about Candlemas King Magnus 
laid aboard in the midst of the night, and put out 
with ships tilted and lights burning thereunder, 
and held out to Hefring, and tarried there for a 
night, and they made there great fires up aland. 

Then King Hakon and that folk which was in 
the town thought this was done of treason. He 
let blow the host out ; and all the Cheaping's 
folk sought thereto, and were gathered nightlong. 
But in the morning when it took light, and King 
Magnus saw an all-folk's host on the Eres, he held 
out down the firth, and so south to Gulathing's 
parts. Then King Hakon arrayed his journey, 
and was minded east for Wick. But erst he had 
a Mote in the town, and spoke and bade men 
of their friendship, and benight his friendship to 
all, and said that there was a shadow over the 
will of his kinsman King Magnus. 

King Hakon sat on a horse, and was bound for 
faring ; all folk behight him their friendship with 
goodwill, and following if he should need it ; and 
all the folk saw him off as far as out under Stone- 

King Hakon rode up to Dovrafell ; and as he 
fared out over the fell he rode one day after a 
ptarmigan that would be flying before him ; and 
therewith he fell sick and caught his bane-sickness, 
and died there on the fell. His body was flitted 

208 The Saga Library. Ill 

north and came to Cheaping half a month after he 
had fared away thence. And all the folk of the 
town, and they mostly greeting, went to meet the 
body of the king, for all folk loved him heartily 
dear. The body of King Hakon was buried at 
Christchurch. King Hakon was a man of well 
five and thirty years of age, and he was one of 
the lords of Norway most dearly beloved of the 
people. He had fared north to Biarmland, and 
had had battles there, and won the victory. 


KING MAGNUS held in winter east to 
Wick, and when it was spring, he fared 
south to Halland and harried wide about 
there. Then burnt he Viskdale there, and more 
countries beside ; gat he there much wealth, and 
therewithal went back to his kingdom. So says 
Biorn Cripplehand in the Magnus-drapa : 

Let fare the lord of Vors-folk 
With sword wide over Halland. 
Swift was the flight to-driven ; 
The Hord lord singed houses. 
Sithence the king of Thrandfolk 
Burned countrysides a many ; 
Fast blew the hell of withies. 
Wake must the Viskdale widows. 

Here it is said that King Magnus did the 
greatest deeds of war. 

IV The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 209 


THERE was a man named Svein, the son 
of Harald Fletcher, a Danish man of kin ; 
he was the greatest of vikings and a 
mighty man of war, and most valiant, a man of 
great kin in his land. He had been in mickle 
good-liking with King Hakon. But after the 
death of King Hakon, Steig-Thorir trowed ill 
therein, of getting into peace and friendship with 
King Magnus, if his might should go over all the 
land, by reason of the enmity and withstanding 
which Thorir erst had had against King Magnus. 
Sithence had they, Thorir and Svein, that rede 
which thereafter was brought about, in that they 
raised them a flock through the strength of Thorir 
and his thronging. But whereas Thorir was an 
old man, and heavy in his goings, then took Svein 
to the steering of the flock, and the chieftain's 
name. To this rede turned more chiefs beside. 
The highest among them was Egil, son of Aslak 
of Aurland. Egil was a landed-man, and had to 
wife Ingibiorg, the daughter of Ogmund, son of 
Thorberg, a sister of Skopti of Gizki. Skialg was 
the name of a mighty and wealthy man who joined 
the band moreover. This Thorkel Hammer- 
skald tells of in the Magnus-drapa : 

Thorir great-heart with Egil 
Drew flocks from wide together ; 
Those redes of theirs were nowise 
Full gainful unto menfolk. 
Heard I that Skialg's friends gat them 
Sharp hurt thence ; that the land's-lords 
V. P 

2 1 o The Saga Library. 

Cast stone beyond their power 
'Gainst murder-hawks' drink-giver. 

Thorir and his raised up the flock in the Up- 
lands, and came down upon Raumsdale and South- 
mere, and got together for them ships there, and 
held sithence for the north to Thrandheim. 


SIGURD WOOL-STRING was the name 
of a landed-man, the son of Lodin Vigg- 
skull; he gathered folk by the arrow- 
shearing, whenas he heard of the folk of Thorir 
and them, and made for Vigg with all the folk he 
could get. But Svein and Thorir held their folk 
thither, and fought with Sigurd and his folk, and 
got the victory, and wrought much man-spoil ; but 
Sigurd fled away and fared to find King Magnus. 
But Thorir and his fared to Cheaping, and dwelt 
a while there in the firth, and came there a many 
men to them. 

King Magnus heard these tidings, summoned an 
host together, and straightway sithence held north 
for Thrandheim. But when he came into the firth, 
and Thorir and his heard thereof, they lay by 
Hefring, and were all boun to hold out of the 
firth ; then rowed they unto Wainwickstrand, and 
went off ship there, and landed and came north 
into Theksdale in Sallowwharf, and Thorir was 
carried in barrows over the fells. Then they betook 
them aboard ship, and fared north to Halogaland. 
But King Magnus fared after them, so soon as 

VI The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 2 1 1 

he was boun from Thrandheim. Thorir and his 
went all the way north to Birchisle, and John fled 
away and Vidkunn his son. Thorir and his robbed 
all chattels there and burnt the stead, together 
with a good longship which Vidkunn had. Then 
said Thorir as the cutter was burning and the ship 
heeled over : " More to starboard, Vidkunn ! " 
Then was this sung : 

In mid Birchisle now burneth 
The goodliest home I wot of. 
No gain from Thorir cometh ; 
Roareth the bale of timber. 
Of the fire John will not grudge him, 
Nor robbing when 'tis evening. 
Bright low the broad stead singes ; 
The reek goes up to heaven. 


JOHN and Vidkunn fared day and night until 
they met King Magnus. Svein and Thorir 
also went on from the north with their host, 
and robbed wide about Halogaland. But when 
they lay in the bay called Harm, then they saw 
the sailing of King Magnus, and Thorir and they 
deemed they had not folk enough to fight, so they 
rowed away and fled. Thorir and Egil rowed to 
Hesiatown, but Svein rowed out into the main, 
but some of their band rowed into the firth. King 
Magnus held after Thorir and Egil ; and when 
the ships ran together at the landing-place, Thorir 
was in the fore-room of his ship. Then called 
Sigurd Wool-string to him : " Art thou whole, 

212 The Saga Library. VI 

Thorir ? " Thorir answered : " Whole of hand, 
but frail of foot." Then fled the folk of Thorir 
and Egil up aland, but they laid hands on Thorir. 
Egil was taken withal, because he would not run 
away from his wife. King Magnus had them 
both taken to Wambholme ; and when Thorir 
was led ashore he reeled on his feet, and Vidkunn 
said : " More to larboard, Thorir." Sithence was 
Thorir led to gallows, and he said : 

We were fellows four, 
And set one to the rudder. 

And when he walked up to the gallows he said : 
" Evil are evil counsels." Sithence was he hanged ; 
and whenas up reared the gallows-tree, Thorir was 
so heavy that his halse was torn asunder, and the 
trunk fell to earth. Thorir was of all men the 
biggest, both high and thick. Egil withal was 
led to the gallows, and when the king's thralls 
were about to hang him, Egil spake : " Nought 
shall ye hang me for this cause, that each one of 
you were not meeter to hang than I." Even as 
was sung : 

O sun of wave-day, soothly 
Heard I that true word came forth 
From out of the mouth of Egil 
Against the heartless king-thralls. 
Said he each man was meeter 
Higher to hang than he was. 
The waster of the war-blink 
Grief mickle there abided. 

King Magnus sat by while they were hanged, 
and was so wroth that no one of his men was bold 
enough to dare bid for peace for them. And when 

VI I The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 213 

Egil spurned the gallows the king said : " Good 
kinsmen stand thee ill in stead in thy need." 
Thereby it was shown that the king would have 
been bidden that Egil might live. So says Biorn 
Cripplehand : 

Swift lord of Sogn-folk reddened 
The sword on bands of robbers ; 
Wide was the wolf a-tearing 
Warm carrion round in Harm-firth. 
Heardst how the king did do it 
That men loathed lord-betrayal ? 
Graithe was fight-doer's faring. 
So fared it, hanged was Thorir. 


KING MAGNUS held sithence south to 
Thrandheim, and gave great punish- 
ments there to all such men as were 
proven traitors to him ; some he slew, some he 
burnt their goods. So says Biorn Cripplehand : 

Shield-shunning ravens' feeder 
Won fear for folk of Thrandheim, 
When deemed they bale of woodlands 
Was roaming through the built-land. 
I deem that war-hosts' Balder 
Locked the life-days of two hersirs. 
The troll's horse was unhungry ; 
The erne flew to the hanged ones. 

Svein, the son of Harald Fletcher, fled first out 
into the main and so to Denmark, and was there 
until he got himself into peace with King Eystein, 
son of Magnus. He took Svein to peace, and 

214 The Saga Library. VIII 

made him his trencher-swain, and bestowed on 
him kindness and honour. 

Then had King Magnus sole dominion in the 
land, and upheld well the peace thereof, and ridded 
it of all vikings and way-layers. He was a brisk 
man, and warlike and toilsome, and liker in all 
wise to his father's father Harald in his mind- 
shape rather than unto his own father. 


A MAN hight Sveinki, the son of Steinar; 
he dwelt east away by the Elf, a very 
mighty man. He had fostered Hakon or 
ever Thorir of Steig took to him. As yet Sveinki 
had not given himself up into the power of King 

Now King Magnus called to him Sigurd Wool- 
string, and told him that he will send him to 
Sveinki to bid him out of his lands, and the king's 
havings to boot : " For he has not made obeisance 
to us, nor done us honour." He said : " East in the 
Wick are those landed-men, Svein Bridgefoot, 
Day Eilifson, Kolbiorn Klakk, to flit our case by 
right and law." 

Then said Sigurd : " I wist not that there was 
a man to be looked for in Norway for whom three 
landed-men were needed to come along with my 
avail." The king said : " No taking to it if it be 
not needed." 

Now he arrays his journey with one ship, and 
held east for the Wick, and summons the landed- 
men together, and then a Thing is called through- 

VIII Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 215 

out the Wick, and thereto are bidden the Elf biders 
from the east, and there was much thronging of 
men. Men had to bide Sveinki a while. Sithence 
is seen the faring of men thither, and as an heap 
of ice-shivers was it to look on ; and there cometh 
Sveinki and his into the Thino-mote, and sat down 


in one ring, and had five hundreds of men. 

Then stood up Sigurd and spake and said : 
" God's greeting and his sends King Magnus unto 
God's friends and his, all landed-men, and mighty 
men, and therewith fair words, bidding himself for 
the captain, and to be the breast for all men of 
Norway ; good it is to take well a king's word." 

Then standeth up a man in the flock of those 
Elfgrims, mickle waxen, exceeding swollen-faced, 
in a fleece-cope, a cudgel over his shoulder, and a 
bowl-hat on his head. He answered : " No need 
of roller, quoth fox, drew harp-shell o'er ice." 
And then he sat down aoain. 


Somewhat later Sigurd stood up and spake, and 
thuswise took up the word : " Little welding to the 
king's errand have we got of the flock of those 
Elfgrims, and but middling friendly. But in such 
matters each taketh his own measure. But, to 
make the kind's errand barer, he now biddeth land- 


dues from mighty men, and the fetching of men to 
his hosting, and other kingly honours withal. Let 
each one run through his own mind how he will 
have done that, give honour to himself, and right 
laws to the king, if before he have come short 
therein." And thereupon he sat down. 

The same man riseth up and warped his hat 
somewhat, and answereth : " Snowsome it sniffeth, 

216 The Saga Library. VIII 

lads, quoth Finns ; had snow-shoes for sale ; " 
and then sat down. 

And somewhat later rose up Sigurd ; he had had 
talk with the landed-men to the end that it needed 
not to draw feather over the king's frank errand ; 
and wroth-looking is he, and casteth off the cloak 
he had over him, blue of colour, and was in red- 
scarlet kirtle thereunder ; and he spake : " Now 
things have come to this pass, that each one must 
look out for himself; there is no need to shear 
fine with this man. It is now seen how much we 
are accounted of, and if that be borne, there is 
more behind, to wit, that the king's errand is 
answered shamefully ; and after all, each one must 
look to his own worth. There is a man hight 
Sveinki, and is Steinar's son, dwells east by the 
Elf ; the king will have of him his right land-dues 
and his own lands, or biddeth him else quit his 
lands. Now it behoves not to hang back herein, 
or to answer with mocking words. Men will be 
found his peers in power, though he take our 
errands unworthily ; and it is better now than 
later to push on one's affair with honour, than to 
abide with shame from stubbornness." And he 
sat down. 

Then Sveinki riseth up, and casteth his hat off 
on his back, and spake : " Pshaw ! " said he, " beast 
of a dog ! foxes shitted in the carle's burn. Hearken 
a foul thing, thou sleeveless, of shirtless back ! 
What ! biddest thou me be off my lands ? Sent were 
aforetime on the same errand they of thy kindred, 
thou Sigurd Woolbag ! One was called Gill Back- 
rift, and another by a worser name ; nightlong were 

VIII Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 217 

they in a house, and stole wheresoever they came. 
What ! biddest me out of my lands ? Less was 
thy carp while Hakon my fosterson was alive; 
whenas so adrad wert thou, if thou wert in his 
way, as a mouse in a trap ; so wert thou huddled 
up in rags as a cur aboard ship ; as packed into a 
sack as corn in a skin ; so wert thou chased out 
of thy lands as a plough-horse from stud ; and one 
breathing hole thou hadst like an otter in a gin. 
What now ! Deem thee well apaid if thou come 
away with thy life. Stand up ! " 

That rede only saw Svein Bridgefoot and his 
to put a horse under Sigurd, and he rode away 
into the wood. And so it closed that Sveinki 
went back to his lands. 

But Sigurd Wool-string came the land-road with 
ill play north to Thrandheim, and met King 
Magnus, and told him how matters stood. 

Then said the king : " Didst thou need some- 
what of avail from the landed-men ? " 

Sigurd deemed ill of his journey, and said he 
had will to avenge him, and he eggs-on the king. 
King Magnus let array five ships, and fared south 
along the land, and east to Wick, and there taketh 
glorious feasts of his landed-men. The king told 
them he will meet Sveinki, and said he misdoubted 
him that he would will to be king over Norway. 
They said the man was mighty, and hard to deal 

Now fareth the king until they came off the 
abode of Sveinki. Then bade the landed-men to 
be allowed to wot of tidings, and they go up from 
the ships ; they see the faring of Sveinki, that he 

2 1 8 The Saga L ibrary. VIII 

had come from his stead with an host of men well 
arrayed. Thereupon the landed-men uprear the 
white shield ; Sveinki stays his men, and both 
hosts met. 

Then spake Kolbiorn Klakk : " King Magnus 
sends thee greeting ; " and then he saith, and 
biddeth him heed his own honour and the king's 
lordship, and not to dight him so masterful as to 
fight with the king. He offered to bear words of 
peace betwixt, and bade him stay his host. 

Sveinki said he would abide. " We fared out 
against you, that ye might not tread down our 

They met the king, and said that all would be 
in his wielding. The king said: "Swift is my 
doom : let him flee out of the land, and come back 
never while is my reign ; and he shall let go all 
his goods." 

" Would not that be more seemly," said Kolbiorn, 
" and better for the hearing of other kings, to put 
him from the land in such wise, that he might be 
with mighty men for his wealth's sake. He will 
never come back while we have the lands ; but 
thou wouldst have done in mighty man's manner. 
Think of this with thyself, and worthy our words.'' 

The king said : " Let him fare away forthwith." 

Then they meet Sveinki, and tell him kind 
words from the king, but that withal, that the king 
bids him fare away from the land, and do that 
honour to the king for that he had trespassed 
against him ; for that is honour to both ; the 
king would grant him as much wealth as would 
beseem him. " Think thereof." 

VIII Story of King Magn its Ba rcfoo t. 219 

Then said Sveinki : " Then things must have 
changed if the king spoke kindly. Why should I 
flee my lands and all my goods ? Hearken to it ! 
Better it seems to me to fall amidst my belongings 
than to flee mine heritage. Tell the king that 
hence I flee not so long as one bow-shot." 

Kolbiorn said : " Nought is that the one only 
likely thing ; better to bow to worship of the best 
lord, than to withstand him to the point of great 
troubles. To a good man is it good wheresoever 
he liveth ; and thou wilt be most accounted of 
wheresoever thou happenest on men the most 
mighty, in that thou hast held thine own against 
such a lord. Hearken to our behest, and worship 
somewhat our errand. We offer thee to look after 
thy goods and truly to guard them ; withal, if thou 
come back to thy lands, pay thou scat never, but it 
be thy will, and thereto shall we lay in pledge both 
our goods and our lives ; thrust this not away from 
thee, and so spare all troubles to good fellows." 

Then Sveinki held his peace and spake sithence : 
" Wisely do ye seek hereafter ; yet it misdoubteth 
me whether this errand of the king be not some- 
what turned aside. But for the mickle goodwill ye 
have shown, I shall so worship your words that 
I will fare from the land winterlong ; but that 
while I shall have my goods left in peace accord- 
ing to your behest. Say these my words to the 
king ; and that it is done for your sakes, not for 
the king's." 

Then they met the king and tell him that Sveinki 
lays everything in his power. " But he biddeth, 
therefor, the honour of thee to be away three 

22O The Saga Library. VIII 

winters, then to come back, if that be the will of 
both of you. Do for thy kingship and our prayer, 
and let it so be, whereas all is at thy doom, and 
we shall lay all down thereto, that he come not 
back save at thy will. " 

Then spake the king- : "As good men and true 
ye flit it, and for your sake shall we even so do as 
ye pray. Tell him so." 

They thanked the king, and fared on to find 
Sveinki, and tell him of the kindly words of the 
king; "and fain are we if ye two might come to 
peace ; prays the king that a three-winters' frist 
should be named ; but we ween, if we wot the 
sooth, that ere that he will not be without you ; 
and for your honour's sake it is a rede worshipful 
not to naysay it." 

Says Sveinki: "What then, forsooth! Tell 
the king I shall do him no heartburn in dwelling 
here ; so take ye my goods in hand." 

He turns with his host home to the stead, and 
is off straightway, and was boun hereto before. 
Kolbiorn stayeth behind bidding King Magnus to 
a feast, as if that had already been settled before. 

Now Sveinki rides up into Gautland with all his 
host, such thereof as liketh him. The king taketh 
banquets at his steads, and then goes back to the 
Wick, and those are called the king's goods and 
lands which Sveinki had owned, and he lets 
Kolbiorn guard them. 

The king taketh banquets about the Wick ; and 
then he fareth to the north, and now things are 
quiet a while. But now ill-folk fall upon the 
Elfgrims, whereas it is lordless, and the king sees 

IX The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 22 1 

that waste will be his realm east away there. 
Seems to him the only thing to be done is to 
grant it to Sveinki to break the stream before 
him, and that seemeth the handiest ; and the king 
sendeth word to Sveinki twice, but he fared not, 
till the king himself came to Denmark. Then 
they made full peace, and Sveinki fared to his 
own lands, and was ever sithence a breast for the 


KING MAGNUS dight his journey out 
of the land, and had an host mickle 
and fair with him, and ships of the best. 
He held his host west over the main, and first to 
the Orkneys. He laid hands on both earls, Paul 
and Erlend, and sent them both east to Norway, 
and set his son Sigurd up for lord over the isles, 
and gat him a council. Sithence King Magnus 
held his host into the South-isles, and when he 
came there, he fell straightway to harry, and to 
burn the builded country, and slew the menfolk, 
and robbed wheresoever they fared ; but the folk 
of the land fled wide away, some into Scotland's 
firths, some south to Cantire, or west to Ireland, 
while othersome gat life and limb, and became the 
king's men. So says Biorn Cripplehand : 

Wood-sorrow all through Lewis 
Played wildly nigh the heavens ; 
Wide were the folk flight-eager ; 
Fire gushed forth from houses. 

222 The Saga Library. X 

Fared the king fight-eager 
Wide with the flame Vist over ; 
The lord wan fight-beam ruddy ; 
And life and wealth lost bonders. 

The stauncher of the hunger 

Of storm-goose let there harry 

Sky. And glad wolf tooth reddened 

On many a wound in Tirey. 

The Grenland's lord wrought weeping 

For maids south down the islands ; 

The Mull-folk ran all mithered ; 

High went the Scotchmen's scatterer. 


KING MAGNUS brought his host to 
Holy Isle, and gave there truce and 
peace to all men and to all men's goods. 
So men say that he was minded to open Columb- 
kill Church, the little, but went not the king 
within, and straightway locked the door with bolt, 
and said that no one should be so bold henceforth 
to go into that church, and so has it been done 
sithence. Then King Magnus brought his host 
south to I slay, and harried there and burnt. And 
when he had won that land, he dight his journey 
south past Cantire, and then harried on either 
board, now on Ireland, now on Scotland, and went 
thus all with war-shield all the way south to Man, 
and harried there as in other places. So says 
Biorn Cripplehand : 

The brisk king wide the shield bore 
On to the level Sandey ; 

XI The Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 223 

Smoked Islay when the war-men 
Of All-wielder eked burnings. 
Yet southward Cantire louted 
Neath edges of the war-host ; 
Sithence fight-feeder nimble 
Wrought man-fall of the Man-folk. 

Lawman hight the son of Gudrod, King of the 
South-isles. Lawman was set to land- ward in 
the northern isles. But when King Magnus came 
to the South- isles with his host, Lawman fled 
away here and there about the islands ; but at last 
King Magnus' men took him, together with his 
crew, whenas he would flee to Ireland. The king 
let set him in irons and keep him in ward. So 
says Biorn Cripplehand : 

Each shelter was of peril 
Which had the son of Gudrod ; 
The Thrand's lord gat the banning 
Of land there unto Lawman. 
The Agdir-folk's deft youngling 
Gat caught outside the nesses, 
Waster of adder's bolster, 
Whereas roared tongues of blade-rims. 


SITHENCE held King Magnus his host 
for Bretland. But when he came into 
Anglesea-sound there came against him an 
host from Bretland, and two earls ruled thereover, 
Hugh the Valiant and Hugh the Thick, and laid 
straightway to battle, and there was the hard fight. 
King Magnus shot from the bow, but Hugh the 
Valiant was all-byrnied, so that nothing was bare 

224 The Saga Library. XI 

on him save the eyes alone. King Magnus shot 
an arrow at him, and another man withal, a 
Halogalander, who stood beside the king, and 
they shot both at once. Came one arrow on the 
nose-guard of the helm, and the nose-guard was 
bent and twisted over to one side, but the other 
shot came on the earl's eye, and flew through to 
the back of the head, and that is kenned to the 
king. There Hugh the Earl fell, and fled the 
Bretlanders sithence, and had lost much folk. So 
says Biorn Cripplehand : 

The sword-grove ruled life-spilling 
Of Hugh the Earl, the Valiant, 
In Angle-sound, where sheared 
The strokes, and darts flew swiftly. 

And yet again was this sang : 

Point dinned against the byrny ; 
With might and main the king shot ; 
Agdir's All-wielder swayed 
The elm ; blood leapt on war-helms. 
Into the rings flew string-hail ; 
The folk stooped ; but the Hord's-lord 
Let bane come to the earl there 
In the land-onset hardy. 

King Magnus gat victory in that battle. Then 
gat he Anglesea, and that was the furthest south 
that the former kings who had been in Norway 
had gotten dominion to them. Anglesea is a third 
part of Bretland. After this battle turned back 
King Magnus with his host, and made first for 
Scotland. Then men fared between him and King 
Malcolm of Scotland, and they made peace be- 
tween them. King Magnus should have all the 

XII Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 225 

islands that lie to the west of Scotland, all them to 
wit betwixt which and the main land a keel with 
rudder shipped could fare. But when King Magnus 
came from the south up to Cantire, then let he 
drag a cutter over Cantire-neck with rudder 
shipped, and himself sat on the poop and held 
the tiller; and thus got he to him so much 
land as lay to larboard. Cantire is a mickle land, 
and better than the best isle of the South-isles save 
Man. A narrow neck there is between it and the 
main land of Scotland, and thereover longships are 
often dragged. 


KING MAGNUS was the winter over in 
the South-isles. And then fared his men 
over all Scotland's firths, and rowed in- 
side all islands builded and unbuilded, and owned 
for the King of Norway all the islands. King 
Magnus got to wife to his son Sigurd, Biadmynia, 
daughter of King Myrkiartan, the son of Thialfi, 
the King of the Irish, who ruled over Connaught. 

The next summer King Magnus fared with his 
host east to Norway. Earl Erlend was dead of 
sickness in Nidoyce, and there is buried, but Earl 
Paul in Biorgvin. 

Skopti, the son of Ogmund, the son of Thor- 
berg, was a landed-man of renown. He dwelt 
at Gizki in Southmere. He had to wife Gudrun, 
daughter of Thord, the son of Foli. Their 
children were : Ogmund, Finn, Thord, and Thora, 


226 The Saga Library. XIII 

whom Asolf, son of Skuli, had to wife. The sons 
of Skopti and his wife were the most likely of 
men in their youth, and the best beloved of folk. 


STEINKEL, the Swede-king, died near the 
fall of the two Haralds ; and Hakon hight 
the king in Sweden next after King 
Steinkel. Sithence was Ingi king, the son of 
King Steinkel, a good king and a mighty, of all 
men the most and strongest. He was king in 
Sweden whenas Magnus was king in Norway. 
King Magnus claimed that that was the land- 
marches, that in days of yore the Gautelf had 
sundered the realms of the Swede -king and 
Norway's king, and sithence the Vener, as far as 
Vermland, and King Magnus claimed to own all 
the countrysides to the west of Vener, that is, 
Southdale and Northdale, Year and Vardyniar, and 
all marklands thereto appertaining ; but that had 
then this long while lain under the sway of the 
Swede-king, and to West Gautland as for clues ; 
and the men of the marklands would still be under 
the sway of the Swede-king as erst. 

King Magnus rode out of the Wick up into 
Gautland, having an host mickle and fair. But 
when he came into the mark-dwellings he harried 
and burned, and fared so through all the builded 
lands, and the people went under him and swore 
obedience to him. But when he came up as far as 
the water of Vener the autumn began to wear. 

XIV Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 227 

Then they went out into Kvaldins-isle, and made 
there a burg of turf and timber, and digged a dyke 
about it. And when this work was done, there was 
brought into it victual and other havings whereof 
was need. The king set therein three hundreds 
of men, the captains of whom were Finn, the son 
of Skopti, and Sigurd Wool-string, and had the 
goodliest company. But the king turned back 
therewith west toward the Wick. 


BUT when the Swede-king heard this, he 
bade an host together, and the word went 
that he was minded to ride down, but that 
was tarried awhile. Then sang the Northmen 

All long doth Ingi thew-broad 
Tarry his riding downward. 

But when the water of Vener was laid under ice, 
King Ingi came down, having wellnigh thirty 
hundreds of men. He sent word to the North- 
men who sat in the burg, and bade them fare their 
ways with what goods they had, and back to 
Norway. But when the messengers bore to them 
the king's word, Sigurd Wool-string answered and 
said, that King Ingi would bring about other things 
than to wise them away as a herd out of ham, and 
said, he would have to come nigher first. The 
messengers bore these words back to the king. 
Sithence fared King Ingi with the whole host out 
into the island, and sent a second time men to the 

228 The Saga Library. XV 

Northmen, and bade them fare away and have 
with them their weapons, raiment, and horses, but 
leave behind all robbed goods. This they nay- 
said ; butsithence they fell on them, and both shot 
at each other. 

Then let the king bear stones and timber 
thereto, and fill the dyke. Then let he take an 
anchor and bind it to long staves, and bear that up 
to the top of the timber-wall. Then went thereto 
many men and dragged the wall asunder. Then 
were made big fires, and they shot blazing brands 
at them. Then the Northmen bade for quarter^ 
and the king bade them go out weaponless, cloak- 
less ; and as they went out each of them was 
whipped with twigs. They fared away in such 
plight and home again to Norway, but the mark- 
men all turned back to King Ingi. Sigurd and his 
fellows went on until they met King Magnus, and 
told him of their misadventure. 


THAT man came to King Magnus when he 
was east in the Wick, hight Gifford, a 
Welshman, and said he was a good knight, 
and offered King Magnus his service, and said 
that he had heard the king had a realm much in 
need of rule. The king gave him a good 

At that time King Magnus was making ready 
to fare up into Gautland, as he deemed he had a 
claim on the Gauts to his dominion. A great host 

XV Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 229 

he had, and the West-Gauts went under him all 
about the nearest countrysides. Sithence he set 
him down at the marches, and they dwelt in tents, 
and he was minded on a raiding. King Ingi heard 
this, and gathers folk and takes the way to meet 
King Magnus. But when to King Magnus came 
the news of his faring, his captains egged him to 
turn back ; but the king would not that, but holds 
him on to go meet King Ingi a-night ere he 
should be ware. And as he was arraying his host 
at the stead hight Foxern, he asked : " Where is 
Gifford ? " And he was not seen. Then said the 
king : 

Now nought will he our flock fill, 
The false knight of the Welshmen. 

Then a skald who was with the king joined in : 

The king asked what was doing 
Gifford, whenas the folk fought ; 
In gore we reddened weapons, 
But thither came he nowhere. 
On a red nag the dastard 
Full-loth was to forth-riding ; 
And nought will he our flock fill, 
The false knight of the Welshmen. 

Mickle manscathe was there, but King Ingi got 
him free by flight. Then came Gifford riding 
down from the land, and was spoken nought well 
of, that he was not at the battle. Fared he away 
sithence, and went to England ; hard was their 
voyage, and he lay mostly abed. Then went to 
the baling a man of Iceland hight Eldiarn, and 
when he saw where Gifford lay, then sang he : 

230 The Saga Library. XV 

"Why fitteth it a courtman 

To doze in surly temper? 

Be brisk, O knight fair-haired, 

Though walloweth the keel now. 

Sooth is that I bid Gifford 

Betake him to the bale-butt ; 

O'er high belike is baling 

In the broad-hulled horse of whale-land. 

And when they came west to England, he tells 
how the Northmen had benithed him. Then was 
a mote called, and thither came a greve, and the 
case came before him. He said he was but little 
wont to the cases of men, whereas he was a young 
man, and had had over-rule but a short while ; " and 
the other matter can I little to clear up, when sung 
it is ; yet may we hearken." Then Eldiarn sang : 

Heard I that flight thou dravest 

At Foxern, but the other 

Of the man-host there were hidden, 

I heard of a war was hard there. 

High was the going thereat 

Of the hardener of helm-thunder, 

Where, Gifford, you to hell smote, 

As you stood, the lads of Gautland. 

Then said the sheriff: " Little am I of a skald, 
but I can hear that this is no nith, and that there 
was an honour unto thee therein." But he (Gifford) 
can not what to say hereon, but he finds that this 
was mockery. 

XVI Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 231 


IN spring, so soon as the ice was loose, King 
Magnus went with his host east to Elf, and 
held up the eastern branch thereof, and harried 
everywhere in the realm of the Swede-king. But 
when they came up as far as Foxern, then they 
went up aland from their ships. And as they 
came over a certain river which was in their way, 
came against them the host of the Gauts, and a 
battle befell, and the Northmen were overborne by 
folk and turned to flight, and a-many of them were 
slain by a certain water-force. King Magnus fled, 
and the Gauts followed them, and slew such as they 
might. King Magnus was a man easily known ; 
the most of men ; he had a red surcoat over his 
byrny, the hair, silky flaxen, falling down over his 
shoulders. Ogmund Skoptison rode on one side 
of the king, the biggest and fairest of men, and 
said : " Give me the surcoat, king." The king 
answered : " What hast thou to do with the sur- 
coat ?" " I will have it," said he ; " thou hast given 
me greater gifts than that." Now the lay of the land 
was such, that far and wide there were level fields, 
and the Gauts and the Northmen saw each other 
ever ; but in other places there were cloughs and 
copses which hid the sight. Then the king gave 
the surcoat to Ogmund, and he donned it. Sithence 
ride they forth on to the fields, and Ogmund turned 
right athwart, and his company. And when the 
Gauts saw that, they deemed that there would be 
the king, and rode thither after him all. So the 
king rode his way to the ship, but Ogmund drew 

232 The Saga Library. XVII 

away as hardly as might be, and yet came hale 
aboard ship. Held King Magnus sithence down 
along the river, and so north into the Wick. 


TH E next summer after, a meeting was laid 
betwixt the kings at King's Rock in the 
Elf, and thither came Magnus, Norway's 
king, and Ingi, the Swede-king, and Eric, the son 
of Svein, the Dane-king, and this meeting was 
bound to truce. But when the Thing was set, the 
kings went forth into the field apart from other 
men, and spoke together for a little while, and 
then walked back to their folk, and then was peace 
made so that each should have such dominion as 
their fathers had had afore, but each king should 
boot his own landsmen their robbery and man- 
scathe, and each sithence to even it against each 
other ; King Magnus should have to wife Margaret, 
the daughter of King Ingi, who was sithence called 

That was the talk of men that never had been 
seen men lordlier than were they, all of them. King 
Ingi was somewhat the biggest and stoutest, and 
he was deemed to be the most elderlike ; King 
Magnus was deemed to be the most masterful 
and nimblest ; but King Eric was rather the 
goodliest to behold ; but all were they fair men, 
big, noble, and word-handy. At things thus done 
they parted 

XVIII Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 233 


KING MAGNUS gat Queen Margaret, 
the daughter of King Ingi, and she was 
sent from the east from Sweden to Nor- 
way, and there was gotten to her a noble following. 
But King Magnus had afore certain bairns which 
are named. A son of his was hight Eystein, 
whose mother was of little kin ; another hight 
Sigurd, younger by one winter ; his mother hight 
Thora ; Olaf hight the third, much the youngest ; 
his mother was Sigrid, the daughter of Saxe of 
Wick, a noble man in Thrandheim ; she was the 
king's concubine. 

So say men, that whenas King Magnus came 
back from his west-viking, that he held much to 
the fashion of raiment as was wont in the West- 
land, and many of his men likewise. They would 
go barelegged in the street, and had short kirtles 
and over-cloaks. So then men called him Magnus 
Barefoot, or Bareleg. But some men called him 
Magnus the High, othersome Stour-whiles Magnus. 
He was the highest of men. His mark of height 
was done in Mary's Church in Cheaping, that same 
which King Harald had let do make. There by 
the north door were hammered out, on the stone 
wall, three crosses, one for Harald's height, the 
second Olaf s height, the third Magnus' height ; 
and that was marked where each of them might 
kiss the handiest. Harald's cross was uppermost, 
and Magnus' cross nethermost, but Olafs mark 
midway of both. 

234 The Saga Library. XVIII 

This lay is given to King Magnus, how that he 
made it of the Kaiser's daughter : 

Matild is the one that hurts me 
My play and joy, and waketh 
The war ; now from wounds drinketh 
The blood-mew in the southland. 
The lady white-red haired, 
Her land with shield who wardeth, 
Teacheth me little sleeping ; 
Swords bit the doors of Hogni. 

And still he sang : 

What here in the world is better 
Than the fair wives ; but seldom 
The skald doth cease from longing. 
Long day the lad that tarries. 
This heavy sorrow bear I 
From Thing, that never henceforth 
My maiden shall I find me ; 
Men for the mote bedight them. 

When King Magnus had heard a friendly word 
from the Kaiser's daughter to him, and when she 
had said that such a man she deemed of worship 
as was King Magnus, then he sang this : 

In secret good word hear I 

On the skald from the Gerd of gold-ring : 

The red-haired arm-lime will not 

Cast forth her speech on sea-wave. 

I love the words well-loving 

Of that row-bench of good- web, 

Though nowise oft I find her. 

Know, men ! that high I love her. 

XIX-XX King Magnus Barefoot. 235 


SKOPTI OGMUNDSON fell out with 
King Magnus, and they strove about an 
heritage. Skopti held it, but the king 
claimed it with so mickle mastery that it came to 
the very point of peril. Many meetings they had 
to hold on the matter, but Skopti laid that rede 
thereto, that he and his sons should never be all 
at once in the king's power; and he said that that 
would serve best. 

Whenas Skopti was before the king he brought 
this forward, that due kinship was betwixt him 
and the king, and that, moreover, he had always 
been a dear friend to the king, and their friendship 
had never turned aside. So said he, that men 
might know that he had got such wits about him, 
" that I will not," says he, " hold the matter in con- 
test with thee, king, if I should speak wrong ; but 
in this I take after my fore-elders, to hold my right 
against anyone, and in that matter I have no 
respect of person." 

The king was the same, nor did his mind grow 
meeker by such speech. So Skopti fared home. 


SI THENCE went Finn, the son of Skopti, 
to find the king, and talked with him, and 
bade the king this, that he should let 
father and sons get their rights of this case. The 

236 The Saga Library . XXI 

king answered surly and short. Then said Finn : 
" I looked for something else from thee, king, 
than thy robbing me of law herein, whenas I 
went into Kvaldinsey, which few others of thy 
friends would do ; for they said, as sooth was, 
that they were afore-sold who sat there, and 
doomed to death, if King Ingi had not shown us 
more high-mindedness than thou hadst seen to for 
us ; and yet many folk will deem that we bore 
shame thence, if that be worth aught." 

At such talk the king shifted nought ; and so 
Finn fared home. 


THEN fared Ogmund Skoptison to see the 
king. And when he came before the 
king, he bare forth his errand, and bade 
the king do right by the father and sons. The 
king said that that was right which he spake, and 
that they were wondrous overbold. Then spake 
Ogmund : " Thou wilt come thy way, king, thus- 
wise, and wrong us by reason of thy might. Will 
that here be sooth, as 'tis said, that the giving of 
life most men reward ill or nought. That shall eke 
follow my plea, that I shall never again come into 
thy service, nor any one of our fatherhood, if I 
may rule it." 

Fared Ogmund home after this, and never after 
did they see each other, King Magnus and 

XXII-III King Magnus Barefoot. 237 


N" EXT spring Skopti, the son of Ogmund, 
arrayed his faring away out of the land. 
He had five longships, all well dight ; 
and to this journey betook themselves with him 
his sons, Ogmund and Finn and Thord. They 
were somewhat late boun, and sailed in harvest 
to Flanders, and were there the winter through. 
Early in the spring they sailed west to Valland, 
and in the summer they sailed out through Norvi- 
sound, and in harvest to Rome. There died 
Skopti. All of them, father and sons, died in this 
journey, but Thord lived the longest of them, and 
died in Sicily. That is the say of men, that Skopti 
was the first of Northmen to sail through Norvi- 
sound, and most famed was that journey. 


IT befell in Cheaping, whereas King Olaf 
rests, that fire came into a house in the 
town, and it burned wide. Then was borne 
from out the church the shrine of King Olaf, and 
set against the fire. Sithence ran thereto a man 
hairbrained and unwise, and beat the shrine, and 
threatened the holy man, and said that all would 
burn up there unless he saved them with his 
prayers, both the church and other houses. Now 
almighty God let the burning of the church be 
staved off, but to that unwise man he sent eye- 

238 The Saga Library. XXIV-V 

pain forthwith the same night, and thus he lay all 
along until the holy King Olaf prayed almighty 
God for mercy for him, and within that same 
church he got healed again. 


THAT other tidings also was in Cheaping, 
that a certain woman was brought thither 
to that place whereas King Olaf rests. 
She was so fordone that she was all crippled to- 
gether in such wise that both her legs lay bent up 
with her thighs. Now inasmuch as she was dili- 
gent at prayers, and had made behests to him 
greeting, he healed her of her mickle ailing so 
that her feet and legs and other limbs were 
straightened out of their bonds, and thereafter 
every joint and limb served its right shape. Before 
she might not even crawl thither, but she walked 
thence whole and fain to her homestead. 


KING MAGNUS arrayed his journey out 
of the land, and had a mickle host ; and 
at that time he had been king over Nor- 
way nine winters. Then fared he west over sea, 
and had the goodliest host that was thereto in 
Norway. Him followed all mighty men in the 
land : Sigurd Hranison, Vidkunn Jonson, Day 
Eilifson, Serk of Sogn, Eyvind Elbow, the king's 

XXVI Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 239 

marshal, Wolf Hranison, brother of Sigurd, and 
many other mighty men. The king fared with all 
this host west to Orkney, and took with him 
thence the sons of Earl Erlend, Magnus and 
Erling. Then he sailed for the South-isles, and 
while he lay off Scotland, Magnus, the son of 
Erling, ran by night from the king's ship, and 
swam ashore and fared sithence into a wood, and 
came at last to the court of the King of the Scotch. 
King Magnus went with the host on towards 
Ireland, and harried there. Then came King 
Myrkiartan to hosting with him, and they won 
mickle of the land, Dublin to wit, and Dublinshire ; 
and King Magnus was through the winter up in 
Connaught with King Myrkiartan, but set his men 
to guard the land he had won. But when it was 
spring the kings fared with their hosts west into 
Ulster, and had there many battles, and won land, 
and had won the most part of Ulster when King 
Myrkiartan went back home to Connaught. 


KING MAGNUS arrayed his ships then, 
and was minded to fare east to Norway ; 
he set his men for the guarding of the 
land in Dublin. He lay off Ulster with all his 
host, and they were boun to sail. They deemed 
they needed a strand-hewing, and King Magnus 
sent his men to King Myrkiartan bidding him to 
send him a strand-hew, and he appointed the day on 
which it was to come, if his messengers were hale, 

240 The Saga Library. XXVI 

to wit, the day before Bartholomewmas ; but on the 
eve of that mass they were not yet come. But on 
the massday, whenas the sun ran up, King Magnus 
went aland with the most part of his host, and 
went up from the ships, and would seek for his 
men and the strand-hew. The weather was wind- 
less and sunshiny, the road lay over mires and 
fens where thereover were cut logs of wood, but on 
either side there were copses. As they set fore- 
ward there was before them a high hill, whence 
they might see far and wide. They saw thence a 
mickle ride-reek up landward, and talked between 
them whether that could be the host of the Irish, 
but some said that it would be their men with the 

So they took stand there. Then spake Eyvind 
Elbow : " King," said he, " what is thy mind about 
this journey ? Unwarily men deem thou farest, 
whereas thou wottest that the Irish are guileful ; 
bethink thee now of some rede for thine host." 

Then spake the king : " Let us now rank our 
host, and be ready if this be guile." 

So it was ranked, and the king and Eyvind went 
before the array. King Magnus had a helm on 
his head and a red shield, and laid thereon a 
golden lion ; girt with the sword which is called 
Legbiter, tooth-hilted, and the grip gold-wrapped, 
the best of weapons ; he had a spear in hand, and 
had on a silken surcoat over his shirt, and a silken 
lion shorn out on back and breast, gules, and that 
was the talk of men that never had been seen a 
nobler man or more valiant. Eyvind had eke a 
red silken surcoat of the same fashion as the king's, 

XXVI I Story of King Magnus Barefoot. 24 1 

and he, too, was a big man, and goodly, and the 
most warrior-like. 


BUT when the dust-cloud came nearer, they 
saw that there went their own men with a 
mickle strand-hew which the King of the 
Irish had sent them, and had held all his word to 
King- Magnus. Then they turned back down to 
the ships, and this was about the hour of midday. 
But when they got out on the mires it was slow 
faring over the fens ; and then rushed out the 
host of the Irish of every wood-ness, and gave 
battle forthwith ; but the Northmen fared drifting, 
and many of them fell speedily. Then Eyvind 
spake : " King," says he, " unhappily fareth our 
folk ; take we good rede swiftly." 

The king said : " Blow the war-blast for all folk 
to gather under the banner, but what folk here is 
shoot into shield-burg, and fare we then away to 
heel out over the mires ; sithence shall there be no 
peril, when we come unto the level land." 

The Irish shot boldly, yet fell they all-thick, but 
ever came man in man's stead. But when the king 
was come to the outermost ditch, there was mickle 
ill-going there, and crossing but in few places, 
and there fell] much Northmen. Then the king 
called to Thorgrim Skinhood, a landed-man of his, 
Upland of country, and bade him fare over the 
dyke with his company : "But we will fend it 
meanwhile," says he, "so that ye shall take no 

v. R 

242 The Saga Library, XXVII 

hurt. Fare ye sithence under yonder holm, and 
shoot at them while we fare over the dyke, for ye 
be good bowmen." 

But when Thorgrim and his got over the dyke, 
they cast their shields on their backs and ran down 
to the ships. And when the king saw that, he 
said: "Unmanly sunderest thou from thy king! 
Unwise was I when I made thee a landed-man, 
and made Sigurd Hound an outlaw. Never would 
he have so fared." 

King Magnus gat a wound ; a spear was thrust 
through both his thighs above the knee. He 
gripped the shaft betwixt his legs, and brake off 
the spearhead, and spake : " So break we every 
each sparleg, swains. Set ye on well ; I shall be 
none the worse." 

King Magnus was hewn on the neck with a 
sparth, and that was the bane-sore of him. 

Then fled they who were left. Vidkunn, son of 
John, bore to ship the sword Legbiter and the 
king's banner ; they ran the last, he, the second 
Sigurd Hranison, and the third Day Eylifson. 
There fell with King Magnus Eyvind Elbow, 
Wolf Hranison, and many other mighty men ; fell 
many of the Northmen, but yet a many more out 
of the Irish. But the Northmen that got away, 
left the land straightway that harvest. 

Erling, the son of Earl Erlend, fell in Ireland 
with King Magnus. But when the host that had 
fled out of Ireland came to Orkney, and Sigurd 
heard of the fall of Magnus his father, he betook 
himself straightway to journeying with them, and 
they fared that harvest east unto Norway. 

X XVI 1 1 King Magmis Barefoot. 243 


KING MAGNUS was king over Norway 
for ten winters, and in his days there 
was good peace within the land, but the 
folk had great toil and cost from his outland-host- 
ings. King Magnus was most well-beloved of his 
own men, but the bonders deemed him hard. 
That tell men of his words, when his friends said 
that he would often fare unwarily whenas he 
harried in the outlands : he said thus : " For 
fame shall one have a king, not for long-life." 

King Magnus was nigh on thirty years of age 
when he fell. Vidkunn slew that man in the battle 
who was the banesman of King Magnus ; then fled 
Yidkunn, and had gotten him three wounds ; and 
for that sake the sons of Magnus took him into 
the most dear-liking. 








AFTER the fall of King Magnus Barefoot, 
his sons, Eystein, Sigurd, and Olaf, took 
up kingdom in Norway ; Eystein had the 
northern deal of the land, and Sigurd the southern. 
King Olaf was then four or five winters old, but 
that third part of the land which was his share 
they both had ward over. Sigurd was taken to 
king when he was thirteen or fourteen winters old, 
but Eystein was a year older. King Sigurd left 
behind west beyond the sea the daughter of the 
Irish king. 

When the sons of King Magnus were taken to 
kings, came back from Jerusalem-land, and some 
from Micklegarth, those men who had fared out 
with Skopti Ogmundson ; and they were most 
famed, and knew to tell of many kind of tidings. 
And from the newness of the matter yearned a 
many men in Norway for those farings. It was 
said that in Micklegarth Northmen gat any wealth 

248 The Saga Library. II-III 

they would to bless them withal, they who would 
go into war- wage. They bade the kings that one 
of them or the other, either Eystein or Sigurd, 
should fare and be captain of that folk which 
should betake itself to the journey. And the kings 
said yea thereto, and arrayed the journey at both 
their costs. To this journey betook themselves 
many mighty men, both landed-men and mighty 
bonders. And when the faring was boun, it was 
settled that Sigurd should fare, but Eystein should 
rule over the land on behalf of both. 


ONE winter or two after the fall of King 
Magnus Barefoot there came from the 
west from Orkney Hakon, son of Earl 
Paul, and to him the kings gave earldom and 
lordship in the Orkneys, even as the earls before 
him had had, such as Paul his father or Erlend his 
father's brother. And Earl Hakon went west to 
the Orkneys. 


FOUR winters after the fall of King Magnus, 
fared King Sigurd his folk away from 
Norway ; then had he sixty ships. So 
says Thorarin Curtfell : 

So came together 
Mickle host, eager 

IV Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 249 

Of the folk-king much wise 
Well willed to the bounteous, 
That sixty board-fair 
Ships hence glided 
O'er waves at the willing 
Of God the all-pure. 

King Sigurd sailed in the autumn to England ; 
there then was king Henry, son of William the 
Bastard ; and King Sigurd was there the winter 
through. So says Einar Skulison : 

Toil-mighty leader ruled 
Westward the most of war-hosts ; 
Sea's mare sped 'neath the lord king 
Unto the English lea-land. 
The fight-glad king let keel rest, 
And winter-long there bided ; 
No better king there strideth 
From out of Vimur's falcon. 


KING SIGURD fared next spring with 
his host to Valland, and came in the 
harvest out on Galizialand, and dwelt 
there the next winter. So says Einar Skulison : 

And the great-king, the highest 
In power beneath the sun-hall, 
There in the James'-land fed he 
His soul the second winter. 
There heard I war-hosts' leader, 
He paid an earl o'er-froward 
For a lie ; the king keen-minded 
Brightened black swan of battle. 

This was with these tidings, that the earl who 

250 The Saga Library. IV 

ruled over the land there made peace with King 
Sigurd, and the earl should let set market for 
meat-cheaping for Sigurd all the winter ; but this 
went on no longer than to Yule, and then meat 
grew hard to get, for the land is barren and an ill 
meat-land. Fared then King Sigurd with a mickle 
company to a castle which the earl had, and the 
earl fled away, whereas he had but a little band. 
King Sigurd took there much victual and mickle 
other war-gettings, and let flit it all to his ships, 
and then arrayed him for going away, and fared 
west along by Spain. 

Whenas King Sigurd was sailing along Spain 
it befell that certain vikings who were faring on 
war-catch came to meet him with an host of galleys ; 
but King Sigurd joined battle with them ; and so 
hove up his first battle with heathen men, and 
he won eight galleys of them. So says Haldor 
Gabbler : 

And vikings little worthy 
Fared they to meet the mighty 
King of the roofs of Fiolnir, 
The king laid low the fight-gods. 
The host there gat the ridding 
Of galleys eight, where fell not 
Few folk ; the friend of warriors, 
The kind to men, gat plunder. 

Sithence held King Sigurd to the castle called 
Cintra, and fought there another battle ; that is in 
Spain. Therewithin sat heathen folk, and harried 
on Christian men ; he won the castle, and slew 
there all the folk, for none would let them be 
christened, and took there mickle wealth. So says 
Haldor Gabbler : 

V Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 251 

Now of the great deeds tell I 
Of the king which fell in Spain-land ; 
The slinger of the Van's day 
Let set on Cintra boldly. 
Grim grew it for those warriors 
With the hardy lord to battle, 
E'en they who wholly naysaid 
God's right there bidden to them. 


AFTER that King Sigurd held his host to 
Lisbon ; that is a mickle town of Spain, 
one half Christian, the other half heathen ; 
there sunder Spain christened and Spain heathen ; 
all the countrysides are heathen which lie to west 
thence. There had King Sigurd the third battle 
with heathen men, and had the victory ; gat he 
there mickle wealth. So says Haldor Gabbler : 

brisk king's son, thou foughtest 
The third of victories south there 
In the land, whereat ye landed 
'Gainst the town which called is Lisbon. 

Then King Sigurd held the host west round 
about Spain-heathen, and laid-to at the town called 
Alcasse, and had there the fourth battle with 
heathen men, and won the town, and slew there so 
many folk that he ridded the town. There they 
gat exceeding mickle wealth. Sc/ says Haldor 
Gabbler : 

1 heard that ye, folk-urger, 
Yearned to win sharp fight-stour 
A fourth of times out yonder 
Where called it is Alcassd 

252 The Saga Library. VI 

And still this : 

Heard I of sorrows' winning 
Unto the women heathen, 
In one burg wasted : folk there 
Chose to drift into fleeing. 


THEN held King Sigurd his way and laid 
for Norvi-sound, and in the sound was 
before him a mickle viking-host, and the 
king laid into battle with them, and had there the 
fifth battle and won the victory. So says Haldor 
Gabbler : 

Ye trusted edge to redden 
Eastward of Norvi-sound there, 
And there did God avail thee ; 
To fresh wounds flew the corpse-mew. 

Sithence King Sigurd laid his host south away 
along Serkland, and came to the island called 
Forminterra. There had set down a mickle host 
of heathen Bluemen in a certain cave, and had set 
before the door of the cave a great stone-wall ; 
they harried wide in the land, and flitted their 
war-catch to the cave. King Sigurd made onset 
upon that island, and fared to the cave, which was 
in a certain sheer-rock, and it was steep going up the 
bent to the stone-wall ; but the rock shoved forth 
over the stone-wall. The heathen guarded the 
stone-wall, and were nought adrad of the weapons 
of the Northmen, whereas they might bear stones 
and weapons down upon the Northmen below 

VI Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 253 

their feet. Nor did the Northmen make the 
onset as matters stood. 

Then took the heathen pall and other dear- 
bought things, and bore them out unto the wall, 
and shook them at the Northmen, and whooped 
at them, and egged them, and taunted them of 
their heart. 

Then sought King Sigurd a rede thereto. He 
let take two ship's-boats such as be called barks, 
and drag them up on to the rock over the cave 
door, and let lash thick ropes to the thwarts and 
stem and stern. Sithence men went into them 
as many as had room therein, and then the boats 
were let down before the cave with ropes ; then 
they in the boats shot and cast stones so that the 
heathen shrank aback from the stone-wall. Then 
went King Sigurd up on to the rock under the 
stone-wall with his host, and they brake the wall, 
and so came up into the cave ; but the heathen fled 
within over another stone-wall which was set 
athwart the cave. Then let the king flit into the 
cave big wood, and cast up a mickle bale in the 
door of the cave and set fire to it. But the heathen, 
whereas fire and smoke sought to them, some lost 
their lives, some went on to the weapons of the 
Northmen, and all folk there were either slain or 
burned. There gat the Northmen the greatest 
of war-catch which they had taken in this journey. 
So says Haldor Gabbler : 

Before the stem 

Of that stour be-yearning 

Peace undoer 

Was Forminterra. 

254 The Saga Library. VII 

There must the Bluemen's 

Host be tholing 

Fire and edges 

Ere bane they gat them. 

And this, moreover : 

The famed king's deeds on Serkmen 
Have grown to fame. Fight-strengthener ! 
Thou lett'st the barks sink downward 
Before the troll-wife's by-way. 
But he the Thrott of clashing 
Of Gondul's Thing sought upward 
From the cliff-bent with his following 
To the thronged cave of the sea-cliff. 

And again says Thorarin Curtfell : 

The king fight-handy 
Bade men be dragging 
Two blue-swart wind-wolves 
Up on to the rock there. 
Then when the strong-deer 
Of timbers, men-manned, 
In ropes sank downward 
Before the cave door. 


THEN fared forth his ways King Sigurd, 
and came to the island hight Iviza, and 
there had battle and won the victory. 
That was the seventh battle. So says Haldor 
Gabbler : 

The much be-worshipped marker 
Of murder-wheels brought ship-host 
To Iviza ; the fame-king 
Was fain of the peace-sundering. 

VIII-IX Sigurd ferusalem-farer. 255 

After this King Sigurd came to the island hight 
Minorca, and had there the eighth battle with 
heathen men, and gat the victory. So says Haldor 
Gabbler : 

Sithence befell the eighth one 
Of point-storms to be wakened 
On green Minorc : the king's host 
They reddened there Finn's tribute. 


KING SIGURD came in spring to Sicily, 
and dwelt there long. Then was Roger 
duke there ; he gave good welcome to 
the king, and bade him to a feast. King Sigurd 
came thereto, and much folk w r ith him. There 
was dear welcome, and every day of the feast 
stood up Duke Roger and served King Sigurd 
at the board. And on the seventh day of the 
feast, whenas men had washed hands, King Sigurd 
took the earl by the hand, and led him up into 
the high-seat, and gave him the name of king and 
that right, that he should be king over the realm 
of Sicily ; but before there had been only earls 
over that realm. 


ROGER, King of Sicily, was the mightiest 
of kings ; he wan all Apulia, and laid it 
under him, and many other great islands 
in the Greekland main. He was called Rosfer 


256 The Saga Library. X 

the Rich. His son was King William of Sicily, 
who long had had great unpeace with Mickle- 
garth's kaiser. King William had three daughters 
and no son. One of his daughters he gave to 
Kaiser Henry, the son of Kaiser Frederick, but 
their son was Frederick, who now was Kaiser of 
Rome-burg. Another daughter of King William 
had the Duke of Cyprus. The third, had Margrit, 
the lord of corsairs ; Kaiser Henry slew them 
both. The daughter of Roger, King of Sicily, 
had Kaiser Manuel in Micklegarth, and their son 
was Kaiser Kyrialax. 


IN the summer sailed King Sigurd out over 
the Greekland's main to Jerusalem-land, and 
then fared up to the city of Jerusalem, and 
met there Baldwin, the King of Jerusalem. King 
Baldwin welcomed King Sigurd exceeding well, 
and rode with him down to the river Jordan and 
back again to Jerusalem. So says Einar Skuli- 
son : 

To skald not onefold is it 

Praise of All-wielder's lordship : 

The sea-cold hull the king let 

Glide through the Greekland's salt-sea 

Or ever the wolf-feeder 

Made fast his ships to Acre, 

The huge broad burg ; fain morning 

All folk with their king abided. 

And this furthermore : 

XI Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 257 

Jerusalem, so tell I, 

The built place, fared the fight-blithe 

To look on : no king nobler 

Men wot of neath wide wind-hall. 

Hater of flame of hawk-field 

Gat speedily to bathe him 

In the clear Jordan water : 

Praise to this rede was given. 

King Sigurd dwelt much long in Jerusalem-land 
through harvest and the beginning of winter. 


KING BALDWIN made a goodly banquet 
for King Sigurd, and much folk with 
him. Then gave King Baldwin many 
holy relics to King Sigurd ; and then was taken 
a splinter out of the Holy Cross, by the rede of 
King Baldwin and the Patriarch, and they both 
swore on a holy relic, that that tree was of the 
Holy Cross, on which God himself was pined. 
Sithence that holy relic was given to King Sigurd ; 
this bargain then he swore, together with twelve 
other men with him, that he would further Christian 
faith by all his might, and bring into his land an 
archbishop's chair if he might, and that the cross 
should be there whereas the holy King Olaf rested, 
and that he should further the tithe, and himself 
pay it. 

King Sigurd fared sithence to his ships in Acre- 
burg. Then King Baldwin was arraying his host 
to go to Syria-land to the town hight Sidon ; that 
burg was heathen. To that journey King Sigurd 
betook himself with him. And when the kings 

v. s 

258 The Saga Library. XI 

had a little while sat before the town, the heathen 
men gave themselves up, and the kings gat the 
town, but their folk other booty. King Sigurd 
gave to King Baldwin all the town. So says 
Haldor Gabbler : 

Feeder of tyke of wounding, 
A heathen burg thou takedst 
By might, but gav'st by bounty. 
Each fight was fought full valiant. 

Of this Einar Skulison also tells : 

I heard that the lord of Dalefolk 
Wan Sidon : so the skald minds. 
The slaughter-si ingers took then 
In Hrist's wreath hard a-riding. 
The war-hawk's strong mouth-dyer, 
A woeful work he brake there ; 
Fair swords grew red, but the brisk king 
Gat gladdened of the victory. 

After that King Sigurd fared to his ships, and 
made ready to leave Jerusalem-land. They sailed 
north to that island which hight Cyprus, and there 
King Sigurd dwelt somewhile, and fared sithence 
to Greekland, and laid-to all his host off Angel- 
ness, and lay there for half a month. And every 
day was fair breeze north along the main ; but he 
willed to bide such a wind as should be a right 
side-wind, so that sails might be set endlong of 
the ship, for all his sails were set with pall, both 
fore and aft ; for this reason, that both they who 
were forward, as well as they who were aft, would 
not to look on the unfair sails. 

XII Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 259 


WHEN King Sigurd sailed in to Mickle- 
garth, he sailed near to the land; all 
about up the land there are burgs and 
castles and thorps, so that nowhere there is a break 
therein. Then folk saw from the land into the 
bow of all the sails, and there was nowhere an 
opening between ; all looked as if it were one 
wall. All folk stood out of doors that could see 
the sailing of King Sigurd. 

Kaiser Kyrialax had heard of the journey of King 
Sigurd, and he let unlock that town-gate to Mickle- 
garth which is hight Goldport ; through that gate 
the kaiser shall ride into the town when he has 
been long away from Micklegarth, and has had a 
great victory. Then let the kaiser spread pall 
over all the streets of the city from Goldport to 
Laktiarn ; there are all the noblest halls of the 
kaiser. King Sigurd said to his men that they 
should ride proudly into the city, and let them 
look to be heeding little, whatever new things they 
might see, and so did they. 

Rode King Sigurd and all his men in the 
greatest state to Micklegarth, and so to the bravest 
hall of the king, and there was all dight before 

King Sigurd tarried there for a while. Then 
sent Kaiser Kyrialax his men to him, asking which 
he would rather, take from the kaiser six ship- 
pounds of gold, or that the king should let do for 
him the play which the kaiser was wont to show 

260 The Saga Library. XIII 

at the Hippodrome. King Sigurd chose the play, 
and the messengers said that the cost to the kaiser 
of the play was no less than that gold. Then the 
kaiser let array the sport, and men played thereat 
in wonted wise, and that time all the play sped 
better for the kaiser. The queen owns half the 
play, and their men strive each against the other 
in all the plays ; and the Greeks say that if the 
king wins more games at the Hippodrome than 
the queen, then will the king win the victory if he 
goes to the wars. That say men who have been 
in Micklegarth, that the Hippodrome is made on 
this wise, that a high wall is set about a field, that 
may be equalled to the width of a homefield ; round 
it is, with grades all about, and there men sit along 
the stone- wall while the game is in the field. There 
are carven many ancient tidings, the As-folk, the 
Volsungs, the Giukungs, done of copper and metal, 
with so mickle deftness, that men deem it all to be 
alive when they come to the game. The plays 
are wrought with mickle cunning and guile ; men 
seem to be riding in the air, shooting-fire is used 
thereat, and every kind of harp-play and song- 


THAT is said how King Sigurd would give 
the kaiser dinner on a day, and he biddeth 
now his men to gather all stuff in stately 
wise. And when everything had been got together 
which behoved for the entertainment of rich men, 
King Sigurd said that men should go into that 

XIV Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 261 

street in the city whereas fire-wood was cheapened, 
and said that they would need the same. They 
said that every day many loads thereof were driven 
into the town, and he need have no misdoubting 
on that score. But when they wanted to take it, 
all gone was the wood, and so they tell the king. 
He answered : " Look to it now if ye may get 
walnuts ; no less shall we can to make fire of 

They fared and got so much as they would. 
And now comes the kaiser and his worthies, and 
they sit down together, and are in manifold honour 
there, and King Sigurd feasteth them gallantly. 
And when the kaiser and the queen find out that 
there is nought lacking, then sendeth she men to 
wot what they had to firing. So they come to a 
certain house, and find that it is full of walnuts, and 
tell her thereof. She said, " Certes, this king will 
be of high conditions, and will spare few things 
for his honour's sake. No wood burns better than 
this firing." 

This had she done to try him, what rede he 
should take. 


AFTER this King Sigurd arrayed him for 
his home-faring. He gave to the kaiser 
all his ships ; and a gold-adorned head 
was on the ship that King Sigurd had steered. 
They were set on Peter's Church, and are there 
sithence to behold. Kaiser Kyrialax gave King 

262 The Saga Library. XIV 

Sigurd many horses, and fetched him a way-leader 
through all his realm. Fared then King Sigurd 
away out of Micklegarth, but a mickle many of 
Northmen abode behind, and went into war-wage 

King Sigurd went from the east first through 
the land of the Bolgars, and then through Hungary- 
realm, and through Pannonia, and Svava, and the 
land of the Beiars. There he met Lothaire, the 
Kaiser of Rome-burg, who gave him an exceeding 
good welcome, and fetched him a way-leader 
through the whole of his realm, and let hold 
cheapings for them according as they needed for all 
chaffer. And when King Sigurd came to Sleswick 
in Denmark, then Earl Eilif gave him a glorious 
banquet, and that was midsummer season. In 
Heathby he met Nicholas, the Dane-king, who wel- 
comed him full well, and himself followed him 
north into Jutland, and gave him a ship with all 
dight, which he had into Norway. 

Fared King Sigurd thus back to his realm, and 
had good welcome. And that was the talk of 
men, that never had there been a more worshipful 
faring out of Norway than was that, and he was 
then twenty years of age. He had been three 
winters on this faring. King Olaf, his brother, 
was then twelve winters old. 

XV-XVI Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 263 


KING EYSTEIN had wrought much in 
the land such as was profitable while 
King Sigurd was a-faring. He set up a 
monk-cloister at Northness, near to Biorgvin, and 
thereto he laid mickle wealth. He let build 
Michael's Church, the goodliest of stone minsters. 
He let build also in the king's garth the Apostles 
Church ; and there also he let build the great hall, 
the stateliest treen house that has ever been done 
in Norway. He let build also a church at Agdir- 
ness, and a work and a haven where erst was 
havenless. He let do also at Nidoyce in the king's 
garth the Nicholas Church, and that house was of 
much care done, both of carvings and all other 
smith's-work. He also let do a church north in 
Vagar in Halogaland, and laid a prebend thereto. 


KING EYSTEIN sent word to the wisest 
men in lamtland and the mightiest, and 
bade them to him, and welcomed all who 
came with mickle kindness, and saw them off 
with friendly gifts, and thus drew them to friend- 
ship towards him. But whereas many of them got 
wont to faring to him, and take his gifts, while to 
othersome he sent gifts, them that came not, he 
got himself into full friendship with all the men 
who ruled over the land. Then he would talk 
with them, and said how that the lamts had done 

264 The Saga Library, XVII 

ill in that they had turned away from the kings of 
Norway in fealty and scat-gifts. He took up the 
tale of how the lamts had gone under the sway 
of King Hakon, Athelstane's-fosterson, and were 
long sithence under the kings of Norway. He 
spake of that withal, how many needful things 
they might get from Norway, and how mickle 
trouble it was for them to have to seek to the 
Swede-king for that which they needed. And in 
such wise he brought about his matter, that the 
lamts themselves offered him and bade him that 
they would to turn them to fealty to King Eystein, 
and that that was their need and necessity. And 
their fellowship so drew together that the lamts 
gave all the land under the dominion of King 
Eystein. And first towards this end took mighty 
men there troth-oath of all the folk. Sithence 
they fared to King Eystein and swore him the 
dominion, and that has been held ever sithence. 
So King Eystein won lamtland by wisdom, 
not by onfall, as had done some of his fore- 


KING EYSTEIN was the goodliest of 
men to behold, blue-eyed and somewhat 
open-eyed, with flaxen hair and curly, 
scarce of high middle stature, wise of wit, of much 
lore in all these, laws, to wit, and deed-tales, and 
man-lore, swift of counsel and wise of word, and of 
the deftest-spoken ; of all men the merriest and the 
meekest of mood, dear to heart and well-beloved 

XVIII Sigurd Jerusalem-farmer. 265 

of all the all-folk. He had to wife Ingibiorg, the 
daughter of Guthorm, the son of Steig-Thorir. 
Their daughter washight Maria, whom afterwards 
Gudbrand, the son of Shavehew, had to wife. 


KING EYSTEIN had in many ways bet- 
tered the law of the land's-folk, and he 
upheld much the law, and made himself 
cunning of all law in Norway, and he was withal 
mickle wise of wit. By this matter may one mark 
how worshipful a man was King Eystein, and how 
kind to friends, and how thoughtful to seek after 
his friends what was to grieve them. There was 
with him a man of Iceland hight Ivar Ingimund- 
son, wise, and of great kin, and a skald, and the 
king was well with him and loving, as is shown in 
this matter. Ivar fell ungleeful, and when the 
king found that, he called Ivar to talk with him, 
and asked him why he was so unglad. " But 
before when thou wert with us, we had manifold 
game of thy talk. I am not seeking this of thee 
because I wot not that thou wilt be so wise a man 
as to know that I have done nothing amiss to thee. 
Tell me what is it ? " 

He answered : " What it is, lord, I may not tell 

Then said the king : " Then will I guess thereat. 
Are there any such men about that thou mayst not 
away with ? " 

He said it was not that. Said the kin<r : 

266 The Saga Library. XVIII 

" Deemest thou thou hast of me less honour than 
thou wouldst ? " He said it was not that. The 
king spake : " Hast thou seen any such thing 
as thou hast taken to heart and thinkest ill ? " He 
said that was not it. 

Said the king : " Longest thou to fare to some 
other men or other lords ? " He said that was 
not it. 

The king said : " Now the guess grows harder. 
Are there any women here or in other lands 
whom thou pinest for ? " He said that so it was. 
The king said : " Be not heart-sick thereover. So 
soon as spring is, fare thou to Iceland, and I shall 
give thee wealth and mickle honour, and my letters 
and seal thereon to those men who have her matter 
in hand, and I wot that no such men are to be 
looked for as would not be swayed by my words 
of counsel or my threats." 

Answered Ivar : " It goes heavier than that, 
lord ; my brother has this woman." 

Then said the king : " Turn we thence then ; I 
see a rede thereto. After Yule I shall fare 
a-guesting ; fare thou with me, and thou shalt see 
many courteous women, and if they be not king- 
born I shall get them to thy hand." 

He answered : " The heavier it falleth, that 
when I see fair and darling women, then am I 
reminded of that woman, and then is my grief the 

The king said : " Then I shall give thee rule 
and lands to play withal." 

He answered : " I love it not." 

Then said the king : " I will give thee goods then, 

XIX Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 267 

and fare thou hence to whatsoever land thou 

He said he willed it not. 

Then said the king : " Now it becomes of the 
hardest to seek after this. I have sought and 
tried as well as I know how. But there is one 
thing left, and that is little worth beside those 
which I have bidden thee already. Come every 
day, when the boards are drawn, to see me, and if 
I be not sitting over weighty matters, I will talk 
with thee about this woman in every manner wise 
that may come into my mind, and I will give my- 
self leisure thereto ; that whiles betideth, that grief 
becomes lighter to men if it be talked over. 
That shall also follow this, that thou shalt never 
fare hence away giftless." 

He answers : " That will I, lord, and have thou 
thanks for thy seeking." 

And now ever they do so, if the king be not 
sitting over weighty matters ; then the king would 
talk with him, and thus his grief was bettered and 
he gladdened again. 


KING SIGURD was mickle waxen, red- 
haired, lordly of look, though not goodly, 
well waxen, nimble of gait, few-spoken, 
oftenest nought meek, good to friends, fast in 
friendship ; not deft of speech, devout of ways, 
and stately mannered. King Sigurd was masterful, 
and great in punishments, an upholder of the law, 
bounteous of wealth, mighty, and much renowned. 

268 The Saga Library. XX 

King Olaf was a man high and slender, fair to 
behold, merry and meek of ways, well befriended. 
While these brethren were kings in Norway they 
took off many burdens which the Danes had laid 
on the people while Svein, the son of Alfiva, ruled 
in the land ; they became thereby mightily well- 
beloved of the all-folk, and the great men withal. 


O it is said that King Sigurd fell into 
mickle unglee, and folk might have but 
little of his talk, and he sat but short 
whiles over the drink. That seemed heavy to the 
counsellors, and his friends and the court, and they 
bade King Eystein lay some rede to it, if he 
might get to know what was the cause hereof; 
for now no men gat any settlement of their affairs 
who sought him thereto. 

King Eystein answers so : " Hard is it to talk 
about and to seek after it from the king." But at 
the praying of men, however, it came to his 
promising to do this. 

So once on a time he wakes this and asks what 
was the cause of his sadness : " That is now, lord, a 
grief to many men, and we would wot what brings 
it about ; or hast thou heard of any such tidings 
as may seem a great matter to thee ?" 

King Sigurd says : " That is not so." 

"Is it then, brother, that thou wilt from the 
land, and get thee yet more of realm, as did our 
father ? " That, he said, was not it. 

XX Story of Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 269 

" Are there any men here in the land who have 
come in the way of thy wrath?" He said that 
was not so. 

" That will I then wot if thou hast had any 
dream that bringeth thee imaginings ? " He said 
that so it was. 

"Tell it me then, brother." 

He answered : " I shall not tell thee, unless 
thou unravel it even as it is, for I shall can to 
know it ail-clearly if thou arede it aright." 

He said : " That, lord, is a very hard matter on 
both sides : either to sit before thy wrath, which will 
lie thereon, if the matter be not unravelled ; or that 
wronging and trouble which befalleth the folk as 
things are. But I will arede me to risk thy mercy, 
though the unravelling be not to thy liking." 

He answered : " That me-dreamed and me- 
thought that we three brethren were sitting all 
together in one chair before Christchurch north in 
Cheaping, and then meseemed walked out of the 
church the holy King Olaf, our kinsman, arrayed 
in his king's gear, and was most glorious to look 
upon, and blithe. He went to King Olaf, our 
brother, and took him by the hand and spake to 
him blithely : ' Fare with me, kinsman ! ' And 
methought he walked with him into the church. 
Somewhat after he came out of the church, and 
walked up to thee, brother, and bade thee go with 
him, and was not so blithe as erst ; sithence the two 
went into the church. Then did I hope he would 
come to meet me, but that was not so. Then fell 
on me a mickle dread and feebleness and unrest, 
and therewith I awoke." 

270 The Saga Library. XXI 

King Eystein answered : " Lord," said he, "so 
I arede it : the chair betokens the reign of us 
brethren ; and whereas it seemed thee that King 
Olaf came with blitheness towards Olaf our 
brother, then will he live the shortest, and will 
have good to hand, whereas he is well-beloved 
and young, and in few things hath he fallen, and 
King Olaf will help him. Now, whereas thee- 
seemed he came to meet me not the like blithely, 
that betokens that I shall live some winters 
longer, yet not to be old, and I hope that his 
over-sight will stand me in stead, whereas he came 
to me, though not with the same-like bloom as with 
Olaf ; whereas much have I befallen to trespass 
and the breaking of commandments. But whereas 
thou thoughtest that his coming to thee was tarried, 
that, I guess, will not mark thy parting from this 
world, and it can be, that thou wilt happen on some 
heavy ill, whereas it beseemed thee as if some 
unbrightness laid itself upon thee, and dread. And 
I guess that thou wilt be the oldest of us, and wilt 
the longest rule this realm." 

Then said King Sigurd: "Well is it areded 
and wisely, and after this is it most like to go." 

Takes the king now to gladden. 


KING SIGURD got to wife Malmfrid, the 
daughter of King Harald, the son of 
Valdemar, from Holmgarth in the east. 
The mother of King Harald was Queen Gyda the 

XXII Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 271 

Old, the daughter of Harald Godwinson, King of 
England. The mother of Malmfrid was Kristin, 
the daughter of the Swede-king Ingi, the son of 
Steinkel. The sister of Malmfrid was Ingibiorg, 
whom Knut the Lord had to wife, who was the 
son of the Dane-king, Eric the Good, the son of 
Svein Wolfson. The children of Knut and Ingi- 
biorg were : Valdemar, who took kingdom in Den- 
mark after Svein Ericson, Margret, Kristin, and 
Katrin. Stig Whiteleather had Margret to wife, 
and their daughter was Kristin, whom the Swede- 
king Karl, son of Sorkvir, had to wife. 


SIGURD HRANISON fell out with King 
Sigurd. He had had Fin-fare on behalf of 
the kings for the sake of his affinity and 
long friendship, and many good deeds which Sigurd 
had done to the kings, and he was a man most of 
mark, and most befriended. But now it came to 
pass, as often will be, that evil men, and sick with 
envy rather than full with goodness, bore it into 
King Sigurd's ears that Sigurd Hranison would 
make his own out of the Fin-scat more than be- 
fitted fair measure ; and on this matter they harp, 
until King Sigurd laid enmity on him, and sent 
for him, and, when he came to meet the king, the 
king spake : " I looked not for this, that thou 
wouldst so reward me," said he, " for a great fief 
and honours, as to make mine thine, and have for 
thyself a greater share thereof than what is allowed 

272 The Saga Library. XXII 

to thee." Said Sigurd : " It is not true what has 
been said to thee hereof; such a share thereof 
have I had as thy leave allows." 

The king said : " This alone will not avail thee. 
The matter will have to be talked over first 
more stoutly, ere it be left." And thereat they 

A little after, the king, by the talking over of his 
friends, took the case to a mote in Biorgvin, and 
would make Sigurd Hranison outlaw. 

Now when things had come to such a pass, and 
a trouble so mickle, then fares he to find King 
Eystein, and tells him with what mickle fierceness 
King Sigurd would carry on the case against him, 
and craveth him his overlooking. King Eystein 
said it was a troublesome matter to bid him to 
gainsay his own brother ; said there was long 
way between his backing up of the case and going 
against it ; and said that they would both be 
owners, he and King Sigurd. " But for the sake 
of thy need and our affinity I may put in some 

So he met King Sigurd, and prayed him for 
peace for the man ; told him the affinity there 
was between them, in that Sigurd Hranison had 
to wife Skialdvor, their father's sister, and told 
him that he would boot what misliked the king, 
though he held not that he was soothly guilty ; 
and he bade the king call to mind their long- 
standing friendship. 

King Sigurd said it showed more of rule to 
punish such matters. 

Then said King Eystein : " If, brother, thou 

XXII Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 273 

wilt follow up the law, and punish such a matter 
after the ordinances of the land, then it would be 
Tightest that Sigurd should avail him of his wit- 
nesses, and this is a matter to doom at a Thing, 
not at a Mote ; for the case looks to the land's- law, 
not to Birchisle-right." 

Then spake King Sigurd : " Maybe the case is 
due, King Eystein, even as thou sayest, and if 
this be not law, then we shall plead the case at a 

Thereupon the kings parted ; each of them 
thought hereof his own way. Then King Sigurd 
summoned this case to the Erneness Thing, and is 
minded to have the case through there. King 
Eystein also came thither, and sought to the 
Thing, and when the case fared forth to doom, then 
went thereto King Eystein before the case should 
fall on Sigurd Hranison. Then King Sigurd 
called on the lawmen to lay down their doom. But 
King Eystein answered in this way : " That 
deem I, that there will be here men so wise and 
well learned in the laws of Norway as to know, 
that it behoves not to doom a landed-man outlaw 
at this Thing. And flitteth now the case accord- 
ing to law, so that to all it seemeth soothly." 

Then King Sigurd said : " Mickle of champion- 
ship layest thou on this case, King Eystein, and 
it may be that more toil is before us ere it be gone 
through, than was deemed thereof; yet, none the 
less, shall we hold on with it ; and fain would I now 
that he be beguilted in the homeland of his birth." 

Then King Eystein spake: " Few will the matters 
be which shall not be carried through, if thou wilt 

V. T 

274 The Saga Library. XXII 

follow them up, so many great things as thou hast 
wrought ; and here is it to be looked for, that but 
few men will stand against thee, and small." 

At this Thing they parted, so that nothing was 
done in the case. 

After that King Sigurd summons Gula-Thing 
together, and seeks thither himself. King Eystein 
also seeks the Thing, and now many meetings are 
summoned and held of wise men, and the case 
ransacked before lawmen. Now King Eystein 
flitteth forth this, that all the men who were 
charged with guilts were in the Frosta-Thing's 
law, and the deeds had been done in Halogaland. 
And he voids the case, and thereat they parted, 
and were much wroth. Then King Eystein fares 
north to Thrandheim ; but King Sigurd summons 
to him all landed-men and landed-men's house- 
carles, and calls out from every folkland much folk 
of the bonders, all from the south-country, and a 
mickle host drew to him, and he brings the folk 
north along the land, and seeks rightaway north 
to Halogaland, and will so fiercely go through 
with it, as to make Sigurd Hranison an outlaw 
north there in his kinland, and he summoneth all 
Halogalanders and Naumdale folk to a Thing in 

King Eystein arrayed himself together from 
Cheaping with much folk, and seeks to the Thing. 
He then took over by handfast from Sigurd Hrani- 
son plaint and defence in the case. At this Thing 
both sides flitted forth their case. Then seeks 
King Eystein of the lawmen where those Things 
were in Norway whereat it was lawful for bonders 

XXII Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 275 

to doom the cases of kings, if one king brought a 
suit against the other. " I bring forth that case 
with witnesses, that King Sigurd has the case 
against me, and not against Sigurd Hranison." 

The lawmen say that kings' suits must be dealt 
with at the Ere-Thing in Nidoyce. King Eystein 
said : " That deemed I that so it would be, and 
thitherward the case must turn ; " and said the 
king that even there he would try for a right doom 
in the case of Sigurd Hranison. 

Spake King Sigurd : " So much as thou wilt make 
matters heavy and unhandy for me, so much shall 
I follow them up stoutly." And with things thus 
standing they part. 

Seek now both sides south to Cheaping, and 
there was summoned an eight-folks' Thing. King 
Eystein was then in the town, and had a right 
mickle company, but King Sigurd lay aboard his 
ships. But when folk should go to the Thing, 
then truce was set up ; folk had come in, and 
the case should be pleaded. Then stood up Berg- 
thor, son of Svein Bridgefoot, and brought for- 
ward witness that Sigurd Hranison had hidden 
away some of the Finscat. Then stood up King 
Eystein, and said : " Although this charge which 
thou now bearest forth be true, yet I know not, 
however, for a truth what sort of witness this is ; 
and though it should be, that that be full-proven, yet 
has this case been brought to nought already at 
three Law-Things, and at a Mote for a fourth ; so 
now I call upon the men of the Lawcourt to doom 
Sigurd sackless of the guilt." And so it was 

276 The Saga Library. XXII 

Then spake King Sigurd : " See I that King 
Eystein has brought forward law-quibbles, about 
which I know nothing. Now there is that one 
plaint left unto which I am more wont than King 
Eystein, and that one shall now be pleaded." 

And he turns away now, and to his ships, and 
let strike the tilts, and laid all the host out to the 
Holm, and held a Thing there, and told the host 
that the next morning they shall make for Hawaii, 
and go ashore and fight with King Eystein. 

Butin theevening, whenas King Sigurd sat at the 
meat-board on his ship, then was he ware of nought 
ere a man fell down on the deck in the fore-room 
and took him by the foot, and, lo, there was Sigurd 
Hranison ! and he bade King Sigurd to deal with 
his matter even as he would. Then Bishop Magni 
came forth, and Queen Malmfrid, and many other 
chieftains, and prayed for life and limb for Sigurd 
Hranison ; and for their prayer King Sigurd took 
him up, and took bail from him, and set him 
amongst his men, and had him with him south 
into the land. In the autumn King Sigurd gave 
leave to Sigurd Hranison to fare north to his 
home, and King Sigurd gave him a shrievalty on 
his own behalf, and was his friend ever afterwards. 

After this was never much dealing betwixt 
the two brethren, norj blitheness, or any loving- 

XXIII-IV Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 277 


KING OLAF took a sickness which led 
him to bane, and he is buried in Christ- 
church in Nidoyce, and he was most be- 
moaned. Sithence the two kings, Eystein and 
Sigurd, ruled over the land ; but before^these three 
brethren had been kings together for twelve win- 
ters ; for five winters sithence King Sigurd came 
back to the land, for seven winters before. King 
Olaf was of seventeen winters when he died, and 
that was on the ninth of the kalends of January. 


WHEN AS King Eystein had been for 
one winter east in the land, and King 
Sigurd in the north, King Eystein sat 
long in the wintertide in Sarpsburg. There was a 
mighty bonder hight Olaf o'Dale, a wealthy man ; 
he dwelt in Aumord in Mickle-dale, and had two 
children. His son was hight Hakon Fauk, and 
his daughter Borghild, the fairest of women, a 
wise woman, and of mickle lore. Olaf and his 
children were long in the wintertide at Burg, and 
Borghild was ever a-talking with the king, and 
folk would be speaking things much apart as to 
their friendship. But in the summer after King 
Eystein went north into the land, but King Sigurd 
fared east; and the next winter thereafter King 
Sigurd spent east in the land, and sat mostly at 

278 The Saga Library. XXIV 

King's Rock, and much furthered that cheaping- 
stead. There did he a mickle castle, and let dig 
about a mickle dyke ; it was made of turf and 
stone. He let house within the castle, and do 
there a church. The holy cross he let be at King's 
Rock, wherein he did not keep the oaths he had 
sworn in Jerusalem-land ; but he put forward the 
tithe, and most all other matters he had sworn to. 
But whereas he set up the cross east at the Land's 
End, he thought that would be ward of all the 
land ; yet was that the most unredy to set that 
holy relic so much under the power of heathen 
men, as was proven sithence. 

Borghild, the daughter of Olaf, heard the twitter, 
how that men spake evil about her and King 
Eystein concerning their talk and their friend- 
ship ; so she went to Burg and fasted there unto 
iron, and bore iron for this matter, and was well 

But when King Sigurd heard this, he rode that 
in one day which was a mickle two days' ride, 
and came down upon Dale to Olaf, and was there 
through the night. And he took Borghild and 
dealt with her as a concubine, and had her away 
with him. Their son was Magnus ; he was soon 
sent for fostering north into Halogaland to Vid- 
kunn, son of Jon, and there he grew up. Magnus 
was of all men the fairest, and swift of growth and 

XXV Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 279 


KING EYSTEIN and King Sigurd were 
both on a winter a- feasting in the Up- 
lands, and each had there his own stead. 
But as there was but a short way betwixt the 
steads whereas the kings should take feast, then 
did men that rede, that they should both be to- 
gether at the banquets, each at the other's stead, 
turn and turn about ; and for the first time they 
were both together at a stead owned of King 
Eystein. Now in the evening, when men took to 
drinking, then was the ale nought good, and men 
were hushed. Then spake King Eystein : " Though 
men be hushed, it is more of ale-wont for men to 
make them glee ; get we some ale-joyance, that 
will yet take root for the pastime of men. Brother 
Sigurd, that will seem to all men most meet that 
we heave up some gamesome talk." 

King Sigurd answered somewhat shortly : " Be 
thou as talksome as it pleases thee, but let me 
hold my peace for thee." 

Then spake King Eystein : " That ale-wont 
hath oft been, that men should match them with 
men, and so will I let it be here." 

Then King Sigurd held his peace. " I see," 
said King Eystein, " that I must begin this joy- 
ance, and I shall take thee, brother, for my match ; 
and this is my reason thereto, that we have both 
an equal name, equal land, and I make no difference 
between our kindred or our breeding." 

Then answered King Sigurd : " Mindest thou 

280 The Saga Library. XXV 

not that I used to throw thee on thy back, when I 
would, and thou wert a year older ? " 

Said King Eystein : " I mind me no less, that 
thou never couldst play such game wherein was 

Spake King Sigurd then : " Mindest thou how 
it fared in the swimming with us ? I might have 
drowned thee if I had willed." 

King Eystein answered : " I swam not shorter 
than thou, nor was I worse a diving-swimmer. I 
also knew how to fare on ice-bones, so that no one 
did I know who could champion me therein, but 
thou knewest it no more than a neat." 

King Sigurd answered : "A more lordly sport 
and a more useful I deem it, to ken well the bow. 
I am minded to think that thou canst not draw my 
bow, though thou spurn thy foot therein." 

Answered King Eystein : " As bow-strong as 
thou I am not ; but less sundereth our straight 
shooting. And much better can I on snow-shoes 
than thou, and that has been called, time agone at 
least, a good sport." 

King Sigurd said : " This deem I the lordlier 
matter by a great deal, that he, who shall be 
over-man over other men, be mickle in the flock, 
strong, and weapon-deft better than other men, 
and easy to see, and easy to ken whereas most 
are together." 

King Eystein said : " That is no less a thing to 
be known by, that a man be fair, and such an one 
is easily kenned in a man-throng, and that also 
methinks lordly, for fairness fits the best array. 
Can I also law much better than thou, and on 

XXV Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 281 

whatsoever we have to talk, I am much the more 

King Sigurd said : " Maybe thou hast mastered 
more law-quibbles, for I had then other things to 
do ; and no one taunts thee of smooth-speech ; 
but this say a many, that thou art not right fast of 
word, and that little is to mark what thou mayst 
behight, that thou speakest according to them who 
may be near beside ; and that is nought kingly." 

King Eystein said : " Causeth it, that when 
men bear their cases before me, that think I of 
this first, so to make an end of each man's case as 
best may like him ; but then comes oft the other, 
who has the case against the first ; then often 
things are drawn in that make matters middling 
to the liking of both. Oft it is, that I promise what 
I am bidden ; for that I will that all should fare 
fain from the finding of me. I see another choice, 
if I would have it, as thou dost, to promise ill to 
all, for I hear no one taunt thee for not keeping 
thy promises." 

King Sigurd said : " That has been the talk of 
men, that the journey on which I fared out of the 
land was somewhat lordly ; but thou sattest at 
home meanwhile, as a daughter of thy father." 

King Eystein answers : " Now thou didst nip 
the boil. I should not have waked this talk, if I 
had known nought how to answer this. Near to this, 
it seemed to me, that I dowered thee from home 
as my sister, ere thou wert boun for the journey." 

King Sigurd said : " Thou must have heard it 
that I had battles right many in Serkland, which 
thou must have heard tell of, and that I won the 

282 The Saga Library. XXV 

victory in all, and many kind of precious things, 
the like whereof never before came hither to the 
land. I was thought of most worshipful there, 
whereas I met the noblest men ; but I think that 
thou hast not yet cast off the home-laggard." 

King Eystejn said : " I have heard it, that thou 
hadst sundry Battles in the outlands, but more 
profitable for our land was it that I was doing 
meantime. Five churches I reared from the 
groundsel, and I made a haven at Agdirness which 
erst was desert, though every man's way lay there 
when he fared north or south along the land ; 1 
made withal the tower in Sinholmsound, and the 
hall in Bergen, while thou wert brittling Bluemen 
for the fiend in Serkland. I deem that of little 
gain for our realm." 

King Sigurd said : " I fared in this faring the 
longest out to Jordan, and swam over the river ; 
but out on the bank there is a copse ; and there 
in the copse I tied a knot, and spoke thereover 
words, that thou shouldst loose it, brother, or 
have else such-like spell-words as thereon were 


King Eystein said : " Nought will 
knot which thou didst tie for me ; but I might 
have tied thee such a knot as much less would 
thou have loosed, when thou sailedst in one ship 
amidst of my host, whenas thou earnest into the 


After that both held their peace, and were wro 

either of them. 

More things there were in the dealings of t 
brothers from which might be seen how each drew 

XXVI-VII Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 283 

himself forward and his case, and how each would 
be greater than the other ; yet peace held betwixt 
them, while both lived. 



KING SIGURD was,,in the Uplands at a 
certain feast, and a' bath was made for 
him. But when the king was in the 
bath, and the tub was tilted over, then thought he 
that a fish swam in the bath beside him, and he 
was smitten with laughter so mickle, that there 
followed wandering of mind, and afterwards this 
came upon him much often. 

Ragnhild, the daughter of King Magnus Bare- 
foot, her brethren gave to Harald Kesia; he was 
the son of Eric the Good, the Dane-king, and 
their sons were Magnus, Olaf, Knut, and Harald. 


KING EYSTEIN let do a mickle ship in 
Nidoyce ; it was made both as to size and 
fashion after that as the Long Worm had 
been, which King Olaf Tryggvison had let build. 
There was also a dragon's head afore, and a crook 
aft, and either done with gold. The ship was 
mickle of board, but stem and stern were deemed 
to be somewhat less than had borne the best. He 
also let build there in Nidoyce ship-sheds, both so 

284 The Saga Library. XXVIII 

big that therein they were peerless, and done withal 
of the best stuff, and smithied nobly well. 

King Eystein was at a feast at Stim at House- 
stead, and there he gat a sudden sickness that led 
him to bane. He died on the fourth of the 
kalends of September, and his body was flitted 
north to Cheaping, and there is he laid in earth in 
Christchurch. And that is the tale of men that 
over no man's body has ever such a many of 
men in Norway stood in sorrow as over King 
Eystein's, since the death of King Magnus, the 
son of King Olaf the Holy. King Eystein was 
king for twenty winters in Norway. And after 
the death of King Eystein, Sigurd was sole king 
in the land while he lived. 


N" I CO LAS, the Dane-king, the son of 
Svein, the son of Wolf, gat sithence 
Margret, the daughter of Ingi, whom 
formerly King Magnus Barefoot had had, and 
their sons were hight Nicolas and Magnus the 
Strong. King Nicolas sent words to King Sigurd 
the J erusalem-farer, and bade him give him all 
help and strength from his realm to fare with 
King Nicolas to the east, round Swede-realm to 
the Smallands, for to christen folk there ; for they 
who dwelt there held not to Christendom, though 
some had taken christening. There was at this 
time in the Swede-realm much folk heathen, and 
much ill-christened, whereas there were then 

X XV III Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 285. 

certain kings such as cast away Christendom and 
upheld the blood-offerings, even as did Blot-Svein, 
or sithence Eric the Year-seely. 

King Sigurd behight the faring, and the two 
kings made tryst in Eresound. Sithence King 
Sigurd bade out all-men-host from all Norway 
both of folk and ships. And when that host came 
together he had fully three hundreds of ships. 

King Nicolas was by far the first at the trysting, 
and abode long there ; then the Danes made ill- 
murmur, and said that the Northmen would not 
come. Sithence they brake up the hosting ; fared 
the king away and all the host. Sithence came 
King Sigurd there, and it liked him ill; but they 
held east to Svimr-oyce, and had there a house- 
thing, and King Sigurd spoke of the loose- 
wordedness of King Nicolas, and they were all of 
one mind, that they should do some war-work in 
his land, for that sake. Then lifted they that 
thorp, which is hight Tumathorp, that lies a short 
way from Lund, and afterwards held thence east 
to the cheaping-stead hight Kalmar, and harried 
there, and so to the Smallands, and laid victual- 
fine on the Smallands, fifteen hundreds of neat, and 
the Smalland folk took Christendom. Sithence 
King Sigurd turns his host back, and came into 
his realm with many big, dear things, and much 
plunder, which he had gathered in that journey^ 
and this hosting was called Kalmar Hosting. 
This was one summer before the mickle mirk. 
This one only hosting King Sigurd rowed while 
he was king. 

286 The Saga Library. XXIX 


THAT befell on a time that King Sigurd went 
from a guild-house to evensong, and men 
were drunk and much merry. They sat 
outside the church and sang the evensong, and the 
singing was unhandy, and the king said : " What 
carle is that who there sits by the church clad but in 
a fell ? " They said they knew not. The king said : 

He makes wild all the wisdom, 
That wields the fell-clad carle there. 

Then the carle comes forward and says : 

Deem I folk here may know us 
In a fell that somewhat curt is, 
But this thing all uncomely 
Now do I let befit me. 
What should I have save tatters ? 
Thou, king, wouldst yet be bounteous, 
If me thou now wouldst honour 
With a cloak were somewhat fairer. 

The king said : " Come to me to-morrow, where 
I shall be at the drink." 

And so the night wears. Next morning the 
Icelander, who sithence was called Thorarin 
Curtfell, fared to the drinking chamber, but a man 
stood outside the chamber, and had a horn in his 
hand, and spake : " Icelander, that spake the king, 
that thou shouldst make a ditty before thou 
wentest inside, if thou wouldst get any friendly 
gift from him, and sing about that man, who 
highteth Hakon Serkson, and who is called Suet- 
neck, and tell thereof in the ditty." 

XXIX Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 287 

The man who talked to Thorarin was called 
Arni Foreshore-skew. Thereupon both walked 
in, and Thorarin walked up to the king and sang : 

O fight-strong king of Thrand-folk, 
Some gift thou me behightest, 
When met we, could I do thee 
Some stave upon Serk's kinsman. 
Fee-bounteous king, thou toldest 
That Hakon Neck-of-suet 
He hight ; but me behoves it 
To tell of that full clearly. 

The king spoke : " That said I never, and thou 
wilt be mocked, and that is rede, that Hakon 
shape thee wite hereto, so fare thou into his 
company." Hakon said : ''Welcome shall he be 
amongst us ; and I see whence this cometh." So 
he seats the Icelander amongst them, and now 
were they all-merry. But as the day wore, and 
the drink began somewhat to take hold on them, 
Hakon said : " Deemest thou, Icelander, thou 
owest me some boot ? or didst thou not think that 
they set somewhat of a wily trick on thee ? " He 
answers : " Certes, I deem it that I owe thee boot." 
Hakon answers : " Then we shall be at one again 
if thou work another ditty on Arni." He said he 
was all ready for that. And then they go over to 
where sat Arni, and Thorarin sang : 

The foul-mouthed Skew-of-foreshore 
Songs wide mid folk hath wafted, 
And eagerly hath cast forth 
The clay of the erne the ancient. 
Thou Skew of words a-wary, 
Scarce didst thou feed one crow there 
In Serkland : there thou baredst 
Afraid the hood of Hogni. 

288 The Saga Library. XXX 

Arni leapt up straightway, and drew his sword, 
and would fall on him. Hakon spake it that he 
should forbear, and said that he might look to it 
that he should bear the lower lot, if they were to 
deal together. 

Then went Thorarin before the king, and told 
him he had wrought a drapa on him, and bade 
him hearken it ; and that the king granted him, 
and that is called the drapa of Curtfell. Then the 
king asked him what he was minded to do, him- 
self, and he said he had purposed to go south to 
Rome ; and the king gave him much money, and 
bade him come see him, when he came back, and 
said he would then do honour to him. 


IT is told that on a high-tide, Whitsunday to 
wit, King Sigurd sat with a great throng of 
men and many of his friends ; but whenas 
he came into his high-seat, saw men that he sat 
with a great faintness upon him, and a heavy 
countenance ; and many men were afraid what way 
this might go. The king looked over the folk, 
glared with his eyes, and looked about on the 
benches ; then he took the book, the dear, which 
he had had into the land ; all written it was in 
golden letters, and nought more precious had ever 
come into the land in one book. Now the queen 
sat beside him. 

Then spake King Sigurd : " Much may 
shift in man's life," says he. " I had two things 

XXX Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 289 

which methought best when I came into the land ; 
that was this book here, and the queen ; and now 
methinks each is worse than the other ; and of all 
things that are mine own these seem to me the very 
worst. The queen knows not how she is, for a 
goat's horn stands out of her head, and the better 
I deemed her aforetime, so much the worse I find 
her now." 

Therewith he cast the book forth into the fire 
that had been made, and smote the queen a cheek- 
clout. She wept the king's woe more than her 
own grief. 

Stood that man before the king who hight Ottar 
Brightling, a bonder's son and candle-swain, and 
should be a-serving ; black of hair he was, little 
and nimble, dark of hue, and courteous withal. He 
ran thereto and takes the book, which the king had 
cast into the fire, and held it up and said : " Unlike 
to these were those days, lord, when thou sailedst 
in pride and fairness to Norway, and all thy friends 
were fain and ran to meet thee, and yeasaid thee 
for king with the most of worship. For now 
are come to thee to-day a many of thy friends, and 
may not be merry for the sake of thy woe and lack 
of strength. Be now so kind, good king, and 
take this wholesome rede : first, gladden the'queen, 
against whom thou hast done mickle amiss, and 
then all thy friends around." 

Then said King Sigurd : " What, wilt thou 
learn me rede, thou, the wretchedest cot-carle's 
son, thou of the littlest kin ? " And therewith he 
sprang to his feet, and drew his sword and made 
as if he would hew him down. He stood straight 

v. u 

290 The Saga Library. XXX 

and flinched not in any way. But the king turned 
the sword flatlings as it came down towards the 
head ; and then first he reared it with both hands, 
and then slapped it flat on the flank of him. 

Sithence he held his peace and sat down in 
the high-seat ; and then all men withal held their 

Then the king looked about, and milder than 
erst, and spake sithence : " Late may one prove 
men what like they be," says the king ; " here sat 
my friends, landed-men, and marshals, table-swains 
and all the best men in the land, and none did to 
me so well as he did ; little worth as ye may think 
him beside you, he it was who now loved me best, 
even Ottar Brightling ; whereas, when I came in 
here, a wood man, and would spoil mine own 
dearling, he bettered that to me, and, on the other 
hand, dreaded nought his bane. Sithence a fair 
errand he said ; and in such wise dight his words, 
in that they were to the worship of me, but those 
matters he told not whereby my anger might be 
eked ; all that he dropped adown : and yet might 
he soothfully have uttered it ; yet withal his speech 
was so frank as none so wise a man was at hand 
as might have spoken defter. Sithence, I leapt 
up a-witless, and made as I would hew him down, 
but so greatheart he was, as if there were nought 
to fear, and when I saw that, I let the deed go by, 
so unmeet as he was thereto. Now shall ye, my 
friends, know wherewith I shall reward him. 
Hitherto he has been a candle-page, but now he 
shall be my landed-man ; and that withal will 
follow it, which shall be no lesser a matter, that in 

XXXI Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 291 

a while he will be a man most of mark amongst 
my landed-men. Go thou into the seat beside 
the landed-men, and serve no longer." 

Sithence he became one of the most renowned 
men in Norway for many good matters and 


KING SIGURD was on a time feasting at 
some stead of his. But in the morning 
when the king was clad, he was few- 
spoken and unmerry, and his friends were adread 
lest once more there would be wandering come on 
him. But his steward was a wise man and bold, 
and craved speech of the king, and asked if he had 
heard any tidings so big that they stood in the 
way of his gladness, or whether it were that the 
feast liked him ill, or if there were any other of 
such matters as men might better. 

King Sigurd said that none of those things he 
had spoken of brought it about. " But what brings 
it about," says he, " is that I have in mind the 
dream which came before me last night." 

"Lord," says he, "would that that dream were 
a good one ! but I would fain hear it." 

The king said : " Methought I was out of doors 
here in Jadar, and I looked out on to the main, 
and there I saw mickle darkness, and there were 
goings on therein, and when it drew nigh hither, 
it seemed to me that that was cne mickle tree, and 
the limbs waded aloft, and the roots in the sea. 

292 The Saga L ibrary. XXXII 

But when the tree came aland, then it brake, and 
drave away, and drifted wide about the land, both 
about the mainland, and the out-isles, skerries, and 
strands ; and then sight was given to me, and 
methought I saw over all Norway outward along 
the sea, and I saw that in every creek were driven 
fragments of this tree, and they were most small, 
but some bigger." 

Then answered the steward : " This dream it 
is most like that thou wilt thyself deal best there- 
with, and we would fain hear thine areding." 

Then said the king : " That meseems likest, 
that it will betoken the coming of some man into 
this land who shall make him fast here, and that 
his offspring will be drifted wide about this land, 
and be very much uneven in greatness." 


SO it befell on a time that King Sigurd sat 
with many good men and noble, and was 
hard of mood ; that was Friday eve, and 
the steward asked what meat should be dighted. 
The king answered : " What but flesh ? " But so 
great an awe there was of him, that none dared 
gainsay him. Now were all unmerry. Men got 
ready for the board, and in came the service, hot 
flesh-meat, and all men were hushed, and sorrowed 
the king's harm. But ere the meat was signed, a man 
took up the word hight Aslak Cock. He had been 
with King Sigurd in his outland-fare ; no man was 
he of great kin ; quick he was, and little of body. 
And when he saw that no man would answer the 

XXXII Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 293 

king, he spake : " Lord," said he, " what reeks on 
the dish before thee ? " 

The king answers : " What wouldst thou it were, 
Aslak Cock, or what seemeth it to thee ? " 

He answers : " That meseems, what I would 
not it were, flesh-meat to wit." 

The king said : " What though it be, Aslak 

He answers : " Grievous is suchlike to wot, 
that so sorely should see amiss that king who so 
mickle honour has gotten for his journey in the 
world. Otherwise behightest thou then, when thou 
steppedst out of Jordan, and hadst bathed in that 
same water as God Himself, and hadst a palm 
in thine hand and a cross on thy breast, than to 
eat flesh-meat on a Friday. And if smaller men 
did such, it would be to them for big punishment ; 
and nought so well is the court manned as is to be 
looked for, whereas none cometh forth but I, a 
little man, to speak out on such a matter." 

The king was hushed, and took not then of the 
meat, and as the meat-meal wore, the king bade take 
away the flesh-meat dish. Then came in the meat 
which behoved him well, and the king took to be 
somewhat gladder as the meat-meal wore, and he 

Men spake that Aslak should look to himself, 
but he said that nought such he would do. " I know 
not what that will avail, for sooth to say it is good 
to die now, that I have brought it about to stave 
the king off from a wickedness ; but he is free to 
slay me." 

In the evening the king called him to him 

294 The Saga Library. XXXIII 

and said: "Who egged thee on, Aslak Cock, to 
speak such bare-words to me amidst a throng of 

" Lord," said he, " none but I myself." 

The king said : " Now wilt thou want to know 
what thou shalt have in return for thy boldness^ 
or what thou deemest thyself worthy of." 

He answers: "Wilt thou reward it well, lord> 
then am I fain ; if it be otherwise, then is it thy 

Then said the king : " Thou shalt have less 
reward therefor than thou art worthy of. I shall 
give thee three manors ; but that way things went 
then as might be deemed the unlikelier, that thou 
shouldst save me from a great unhap rather than 
my landed-men, from whom I was worthy of much 

So ended this affair. 


SO befell on a time on Yule-eve, as the king 
sat in the hall and the boards were set, that 
the king said : " Fetch me flesh-meat." 
"Lord," said they, "it is not wont in Norway 
to eat flesh-meat on Yule-eve." He answered : " If 
it be not the wont, then will I have it the wont." 

So they came and had in porpoise. The king 
stuck his knife into it, but took not thereof. 

Then said the king : " Fetch me a woman into 
the hall." They came thither and had a woman 
with them, and she was coifed wide and side. The 

XXXIV Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 295 

king laid his hand to her head, and looked on her 
and said : "An ill-favoured woman is this, yet not so 
that one may not endure her." Then he looked at 
her hand, and said : " An ungoodly hand and ill- 
waxen, yet one must endure it." Then he bade her 
reach forth her foot ; he looked thereon, and said : 
" A foot monstrous and mickle much ; but one may 
give no heed thereto ; such must be put up with." 
Then he bade them lift up the kirtle, and now he 
saw the leg, and said : " Fie on thy leg ! it is both 
blue and thick, and a mere whore must thou be." 
And he bade them take her out, " for I will not have 


HALLKELL HUNCH, the son of Jon 
Butter- Bear, was a landed-man in Mere ; 
he fared west over sea, and all the way 
to the South-isles, where came to meet him west 
from Ireland he who hight Gilchrist, who said that 
he was the son of King Magnus Barefoot ; his 
mother followed him, and said that he hight 
Harald by another name. Hallkell took these 
folk to him and flitted them over to Norway with 
him, and fared straightway with Harald and his 
mother to meet King Sigurd, and they bare forth 
their errand before the king. King Sigurd set this 
matter forth before the lords, that each might lay 
word thereto after his mind, but they all bade him 
have his own way in the matter. 

Then let King Sigurd call Harald before him, 

296 The Saga Library. XXXIV 

and told him he will not gainsay him proving his 
fatherhood by ordeal ; but on such terms that 
Harald shall let that be made fast, that though that 
fatherhood turn out as he saith, he (Harald) shall 
crave not the kingdom while King Sigurd, or 
Magnus, the king's son, be alive; and this bond 
fared forth with oaths sworn. King Sigurd said 
that Harald should tread bars for his fatherhood, 
and that ordeal was deemed somewhat hard, 
whereas it was to be gone through but for the 
fatherhood, not for the kingdom, which he had 
already forsworn. But Harald yeasaid it. 

He fasted unto iron, and that ordeal was done, 
which is the greatest that ever has been done 
in Norway, whereas nine glowing plough-shares 
were laid down, and Harald walked them bare- 
foot, and was led by two bishops. Three days 
thereafter the ordeal was proven, and his feet were 

After that King Sigurd took kindly to the kin- 
ship of Harald, but Magnus his son had much ill- 
will to him, and many lords turned after him in the 
matter. King Sigurd trusted so much in his 
friendship with all the folk of the land, that he 
bade this, that all should swear that his son 
Magnus should be king after him ; and he gat 
that oath sworn by all the land's-folk. 

XXXV Sigurd Jerusalem-fare)'. 297 


HARALD GILLI was a tall man and 
slender of build, long-necked, somewhat 
long-faced, black-eyed, dark of hair, 
quick and swift of gait, and much wore the Irish 
raiment, being short-clad and light-clad. The 
northern tongue was stiff for him, and he fumbled 
much over the words, and many men had that for 
mockery. Harald sat on a time at the drink with 
another man, and told tales from the west of 
Ireland ; and this was in his speech that in 
Ireland there were men so swift-foot that no horse 
might catch them up at a gallop. Magnus, the 
king's son, overheard that and said : " Now is he 
lying again, as he is wont." 

Harald answers : " True is this, that," says he, 
"those men may be found in Ireland whom no 
horse in Norway shall outrun." 

On this they had some words and both were 
drunk. Then said Magnus : " Now here shalt 
thou wager thine head, if thou run not as hard as I 
ride my horse, but I will lay down against it my 
gold ring." 

Harald answers : " I say not that I run so hard, 
but I shall find those men in Ireland who so will 
run, and on that may I wager." 

Magnus, the king's son, answers : " I shall not be 
faring to Ireland ; here shall we have the wager, 
and not there." 

Harald then went to bed and would have 
nought more to do with him. This was in Oslo. 

298 The Saga Library. XXXV 

But the next morning when matins were over, 
Magnus rode up unto the highway and sent word 
to Harald to come thither ; and when he came he 
was so dight that he had on a shirt and breeches 
with footsole bands, a short cloak, an Irish hat on 
his head, and a spear-shaft in hand. 

Now Magnus marked out the run. Harald 
says : " Overlong art thou minded to have the run." 
Magnus forthwith marked it off much longer and 
said that even so it was over-short. 

There were many folk thereby. Then took they 
to the running,, and Harald ever kept at the withers.. 

But when they came to the end of the run, said 
Magnus : " Thou holdest by the girth, and the 
horse drew thee." Magnus had a Gautland horse 
full-swift. They took again another run back, and 
then Harald ran all the course before the horse. 
And when they came to the end of the run, Harald 
asked: "Held I by the girth now?" Magnus 
answers : " Thou didst take off first." 

Then Magnus let the horse breathe a while ; and 
when he was ready, he smote the horse with his 
spurs, and he came swiftly to the gallop. Then 
Harold stood still, and Magnus looked back and 
called : " Run now," says he. Then Harald swiftly 
overran the horse, and far ahead, and so to the 
run's end ; and came home so much the first, that 
he laid him down, and sprang up and hailed Magnus 
when he came. Thereupon they went back home 
to the town. But King Sigurd had been mean- 
while at mass, and knew nought of this till after 
meat that day. Then spake he in wrath to 
Magnus : " Ye call Harald a fool, but methinks 

XXXVI Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 299 

thou art the fool, whereas thou knowest not the 
manners of outland men. Didst thou not know 
before, that outland men train themselves at other 
sports than filling their paunches with drink, or 
making themselves mad and fit for nought, and 
knowing nothing of a man ? Hand over to Harald 
his ring, and never ape him again while my head is 
above mould." 


ONCE when King Sigurd was out on his 
ships, they were lying in harbour, and be- 
side them was a certain chapman, an Ice- 
land keel. Harald Gilli was in the foreroom of the 
king's ship, but next to him, further forward, lay 
Svein, son of Rimhild ; he was son of Knut, son of 
Svein of Jadar. Sigurd Sigurdson was a landed- 
man of renown who steered a ship there. That 
was a fair-weather day and hot sunshine, and many 
men fared a-swimming, both from the longships and 
the chapman. A certain Icelander who was a-swim- 
ming made a game of shoving down those men 
who were worser at swimming. Thereat men 
laughed. King Sigurd saw that and heard ; so 
he cast off his clothes from him, and leapt out 
a-swimming and made for the Icelander, grips him, 
and thrusts him down and held him under. And 
the next time that the Icelander came up, straight- 
way the king shoved him down again, and so time 
after time. Then Sigurd Sigurdson said : " Shall 
we let the king slay the man ? " A man said that no 

300 The Saga Library. XXXVII 

one was full eager to go. Sigurd said, there would 
be a man thereto if Day Eilifson were here. So 
therewith Sigurd leapt overboard and swam to the 
king, took hold of him, and said : " Tyne not the 
man, lord ; all men may see now that thou art much 
the best swimmer." The king said : " Let me 
loose, Sigurd ; I shall bring him to bane; he wills to 
drown our men." Sigurd answered : " We two 
shall play together first ; but thou, Icelander, strike 
out for the land ; " and so he did. But the king 
let Sigurd loose, and swam to his ship, and so 
withal fared Sigurd. But the king spake and bade 
Sigurd never be so bold as to come into his sight. 
This was told to Sigurd, so he went up aland. 


IN the evening, when men fared to sleep, 
some men were ashore playing. Harald 
was at the play, and bade his swain fare out 
on to the ship and dight his bed, and bide him 
there. The swain did so. The king was gone to 
bed. But when the page thought the time was 
long, he laid him on Harald's bed. Then Svein 
Rimhildson said: "A shame it is for doughty 
men to fare away from their homes for this, to drag 
their knaves up here as high as themselves." The 
swain answered, saying that Harald had sent him 
thither. Svein Rimhildson answered : " We deem 
it nought so over-good a hap that Harald should 
lie here, though he drag not up thralls here, or 
staff-carles." And therewith he gripped a cudgel 

XXXVII Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 301 

and smote the lad on the head, so that blood fell 
over him. The swain ran straightway up aland, 
and tells Harald what has befallen. Harald went 
straightway up on to the ship, and aft into the 
fore-room, and smote with his hand-axe at Svein, 
and gave him a great wound on the arm ; and 
straightway Harald went up aland again. Svein 
ran up aland after him, and drifted thereto his 
kinsmen, and laid hands on Harald, and were 
minded to hang him. 

But while they were making things ready, then 
went Sigurd Sigurdson on board King Sigurd's 
ship and waked him. But when King Sigurd 
opened his eyes and knew Sigurd, he said : " For 
this same shalt thou die, that thou hast come into 
my sight, for I banned it thee." And the king 
leapt up. 

Sigurd spake : " That choice thou mayst have 
as soon as thou wilt, king ; but other business now 
is first more due. Fare at thy swiftest up aland and 
help Harald thy brother, for now the Rogalanders 
will hang him." 

Then spake the king : " God heed it now, 
Sigurd. Call now the horn-swain, and let blow the 
folk up after me." 

The king ran ashore, and all who knew him 
followed him even to where the gallows was dight. 
Forthwith he took Harald to him, and all the folk 
rushed straightway to the king all-weaponed, 
whenas the horn had called out. Then said the king 
that Svein and all his fellows should fare as 
outlaws. But at the bidding of all men, it was 
gotten of the king that they should have land- 

302 The Saga Library. XXXVIII 

dwelling and their goods, but the wound should 
be unatoned. Then asked Sigurd Sigurdson if 
the king would that he should fare away then. 
" That I will not," said the king ; " never may I be 
without thee." 


KOLBEIN hight a young man and a poor ; 
but Thora, the mother of King Sigurd 
Jerusalem-farer, let shear the tongue from 
the head of him, for no greater guilt than that this 
young man, Kolbein, had had a morsel out of the 
dish of the king's mother, and said that the cook 
had given it him ; as he dared not take that on 
himself because of her. Sithence fared this man 
speechless a long while. This Einar Skulison 
sets forth in the drapa of Olaf : 

The noble Horn of whiting 
For a young man's guilt but-little 
Let from the head be shorn out 
The tongue of poor wealth-craver. 
All guileless we beheld him, 
Hoard-breaker reft of speaking, 
A few weeks later, whenas 
We were whereas 'tis Lithe hight. 

Sithence he sought to Thrandheim and Nidoyce, 
and waked at Christchurch. But at matin-song, 
on the second vigil f Olaf, he fell asleep, and 
thought he saw Olaf the Holy come to him, and 
betake his hand to the stump of the tongue and 

XXXIX Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 303 

-draw it. But when he awoke he was whole, and 
fainly thanked our Lord and King Olaf, from 
whom he had gotten healing and mercy. He had 
fared thither speechless afore, and sought to his 
holy shrine, and thence fared he whole with a clear 


THE Heathen men took captive a certain 
young man, a Dane of kin, and flitted 
him to Wendland, and had him there in 
bonds with other war- taken men. Now was he by 
daytime in irons alone and unguarded, but at night 
was the son of the master in fetters with him, lest 
he should run away from him. But this poor man 
gat never sleep nor rest for griefs sake and 
sorrow ; in many ways he would be thinking what 
help there might be for him ; much he dreaded 
thraldom, and feared both of hunger and torment. 
Yet no ransom could he hope for from his kins- 
men, for the reason that they had set him loose 
twice before from heathen lands with money ; so 
he deemed he knew that now they would think it 
both too great a matter and too costly to undergo 
it a third time. Well is the man who does not 
abide all the evil in this world which he deemed 
now he had abided. 

Now there was nothing for him but to run away 
and to get off, if that might be fated him. So 
next he takes rede in the dead of night, and slays 
the son of the master, and hews the foot from him, 

304 The Saga Library. XXXIX 

and so makes away to the wood with his fetters. 
But the next morning, when it lightened, they 
are ware of this, and fare after him with two hounds, 
who were wont to this, to scent out whosoever ran 
away, and they find him in a wood whereas he lay 
hid from them. So now they lay hands on him, 
and beat him, and baste him, and play with him 
all kind of ill. Sithence they drag him home, and 
leave him but bare life, and show him no other 
mercy. They drag him to the pains, and set him 
straightway into a mirk chamber, wherein were 
already sixteen men, all Christian. There they 
bound him both with irons and other bonds, the 
fastest they might. So he deemed those woes and 
pains which he had had before as if they were but a 
shadow of all the evil which then he had. No 
man set an eye upon him in this prison who prayed 
for mercy for him ; no man thought pity of that 
wretch, save the Christians wh'o lay there in bonds 
with him. They grieved and greeted for his woe, 
and their thraldom and mishap. 

But on a day they laid this rede before him, and 
bade him behight him to the holy King Olaf, and 
give him to service in the house of his glory, if he 
might get him by God's mercy and his prayers 
from that prison. This he yeasaid fain, and gave 
himself forthwith to the place they bade him. 

The next night he thought he saw in his sleep 
a man nought high stand there anigh him and 
speak to him on this wise : " Hearken, thou 
wretched man," says he, " why risest thou not up ? " 
He answers : " My lord, what man art thou ? " 

He answers : " I am King Olaf, on whom thou 

XXXIX Sigurd Jerusalem-farer* 305 

didst call." " Oho, good my lord," says he, " I 
would fain rise up if I might ; but I lie bound in 
irons, and withal chained in fetters to those men 
who sit herein bound." 

Then the man calls on him, and speaks thus in 
words : " Stand thou up swiftly, and bewail thee 
not, for of a surety thou art now loose." 

Next to this he awoke, and told his fellowship 
what had been borne before him. So they bade 
him stand up, and try if it were true. Upstandeth 
he, and kenned that he was loose. Now said his 
other companions, and spake it, that this would 
come to nothing for him, for the door was locked 
without and within. 

Then laid word thereto an old man, who sat 
there in the most woeful plight, and bade him not 
distrust the mercy of this man by whom he had 
already got him loose ; and so said he : " For 
he must have done a token on thee, that thou 
mayst enjoy his mercy, and be free henceforth, and 
not for more wretchedness and torment to thee. 
Now show thyself deft," says he, " and seek the 
door, and if thou mayst get out thou art holpen." 
So he did, finds the door open straightway, and 
runs out forthwith and off to the wood. 

So soon as they were ware of this, then they lay on 
their hounds, and fared after him at their swiftest ; 
but he lieth and hideth him, and sees clearly, 
wretched carle, where they fare after him. Now 
the hounds go astray from the spoor, as they 
draw nigh him, and they all got bewildered of 
sight, so that no one might find him, and yet there 
he lay before their very feet. So they wend them 
v. x 

306 The Saga Library. XXXIX 

home thence, and bewailed much and sorrowed 
that they should not have happened on him. 

King Olaf let him not be undone, but when he 
had got into the wood gave him hearing and all 
health, whereas they had before beaten all 
head of him, and bruised it till he was deafened. 

Next hereto he got into a ship with two Chris- 
tians who had been long pined there, and all of 
them they made use of that craft to the utmost, 
and thus were flitted their ways from that path of 
flight. Sithence he sought to the house of this holy 
man, and was then grown whole and fightworthy. 
But then he rued his behest and broke his word to 
that merciful king, and ran away one day and 
came at evening to a bonder, who for God's sake 
gave him harbour. Sithence in the night, when 
he was asleep, he saw three maidens come to^him, 
fair and goodly of array, who cast words at him at 
once, browbeating him with heavy wyte for being 
so over-bold to run away from that good king who 
had shown him so mickle mercy; first that he 
loosed him from the irons, and then altogether out of 
the prison, and to keep aloof from that sweet lord 
under whose hand he had gone. Next thereto he 
awoke, full of fear, and stood up so soon as it 
dawned, and told this to the master; and that 
good bonder would allow no otherwise for him but 
to wend home back to that holy stead. This 
miracle was first written by him who himself saw 
that man, and the marks of the irons on him. 

XL Sigurd Jerusalem-farer. 307 


WHEN AS King Sigurd's lifetime wore, 
this new hap befell his rede, that he 
will leave the queen alone and get him 
that woman hight Cecilia, the daughter of a mighty 
man ; he was minded to dight the bridal in Biorgvin, 
and let array a mickle feast and glorious. But 
when Bishop Magni heard that, then was he un- 
merry ; and on a day goeth the bishop to the hall, 
and with him his priest, who was hight Sigurd, 
and was sithence bishop in Biorgvin. They come 
to the hall, and the bishop bids the king come out, 
and he did so, came out with a drawn sword. 
The king gave good welcome to the bishop, and 
bids him come to the drink with him. He said 
that other was his errand. " Is it true, lord, that 
thou art minded to marry and to leave the queen 
alone ? " The king said : " That is true." 

Thereat the bishop began to swell mickle, and 
said : " How does it seem good to thee, lord, to do 
this within our bishopric, and to put to shame 
God's right and holy Church, and thy kingdom ? 
Now shall I do that which I am bound to, to ban 
thee this unrede on God's behalf, and the holy King 
Olaf, and the apostle Peter, and all holy saints." 

While he spoke he stood straight up, and as if 
he stretched forth his neck in case the king should 
let the sword sweep down. And so has said 
Sigurd sithence, who was bishop thereafter, that 
the heavens seemed no bigger to him than a calf s 
skin, so awful did the king show to him. 

308 The Saga Library. XL 

Sithence went the king back into the hall, but 
the bishop went home, and was so gay, that every 
child he greeted laughing, and played with his 

Then spake priest Sigurd : " Ye are merry for- 
sooth, lord. Cometh it not into thy mind now, 
that the king may lay his wrath on thee, and that 
it would be likelier to seek away ? " 

Then said the bishop : " Likelier meseemeth 
that he will not do that, but how might my 
death-day be better than to die for holy Church, 
banning that which is not to be endured. Now 
am I merry that I have done that which I ought 
to do." 

Sithence was there to do in the town, and 
the king's men arrayed them for departure with 
much corn and malt and honey. And now the 
king maketh south for Stavanger, and there 
arrays the feast. And when the bishop who bore 
rule there heard thereof, he meets the king, and 
asks if it be true that he is minded to marry, the 
queen yet living. The king said that so it was. 
The bishop answers : " If that be so, lord, thou 
mayst well see how much that is banned to the 
smaller folk. Now it is not unlike thou mayst 
deem it free, whereas thou hast more might, to let 
such things beseem thee ; but yet is that much 
against the right, and nought wot I why thou wilt 
do that within our bishopric, to the shame thereby 
of God's commandments and holy Church and our 
bishopdom. Now, therefore, thou wilt lay down 
somewhat big in moneys to this stead, and so boot 
God and us." 

XLI Sigurd Jerusalem-far er. 309 

Then said the king : " There, take the money ! 
Wondrous unlike are ye, thou and Bishop Magni." 

And away went the king, no better pleased 
with this one than the other, who laid forbidding 
thereon. Sithence he gat this woman for wife, 
and loved her mickle. 


KING SIGURD let so much further the 
cheaping-stead of King's Rock, that there 
was none richer in Norway, and he sat 
there mostly for the guarding of the land. He let 
house the king's garth in the castle. He laid it on 
all the countrysides which were anigh the cheaping- 
stead, and on the townsfolk withal, that every twelve- 
month each man of nine winters old and upwards 
should bring to the castle five weapon-stones or five 
beams else, and these should be done sharp at one 
end, and be of five ells' height. There within the 
castle let King Sigurd do Cross Church. It was a 
treen church, and done with much care both of stuff 
and fashion. Whenas Sigurd had been king for four- 
and-twenty winters then was hallowed this Cross 
Church. Then let King Sigurd be there the Holy 
Cross and many other holy relics. This church 
was called Castle Church. There before the altar 
he set up an altar-table which he had let make in 
Greekland ; it was done of brass and of silver, and 
fairly begilded and beset with smalts and gem- 
stones. There was a shrine which Eric Everminded, 

3 1 o The Saga Library. X L 1 1 

the Dane-king, had sent to King Sigurd, and a 
Plenary written in golden letters, which the patri- 
arch had given to King Sigurd. 


THREE winters after the hallowing of 
Cross Church, King Sigurd gat a sick- 
ness whenas he was staying in Oslo, and 
there he died one night after Marymass in autumn. 
He was buried at Hallwards Church, and was laid 
in the stone wall out from the choir on the south 
side. Magnus, the son of King Sigurd, was then 
in the town, and he took straightway all the king's 
treasures when the king died. Sigurd was king 
over Norway for seven-and-twenty winters ; he 
was forty years of age. His times were good for 
the land's-folk ; there was both good increase and 
peace withal. 




MAGN US, son of King Sigurd, was taken 
to king over all the land at Oslo, even 
according as all the all-folk had sworn 
to King Sigurd. And a many men straightway then 
took service with him, and landed-men withal. 
Magnus was fairer than any men who were then 
in Norway. He was a man big-moody and grim ; 
a man of great prowess was he, but the friendship 
of his father fetched him his most friendship with 
the all-folk. He was a great drinker, a wealth- 
luster, rough and ill to deal with. 

Harald Gilli was a rightwise man, merry and 
playful, humble-minded, bounteous, so that he 
spared nought to his friends, and easy of rede, so 
that he would let others have their way with him 
in all matters they would. All these things stood 
him in stead for goodhap of friendship and good 
report, so that many mighty men were drawn to 
him no less than to King Magnus. 

Harald was then in Tunsberg when he heard of 

3i 4 The Saga Library. I 

the death of King Sigurd his brother. And forth- 
with he had meetings with his friends, who made 
up their minds to hold a Howe-Thing there in the 
town. At that Thing Harald was taken to king 
over half of the land, and then was that called 
need-forced oaths whereby he had sworn away 
from his hand his father's heritage. 

Harald took a court to him and made landed- 
men, and soon an host drew to him no less than 
unto King Magnus. Then fared men betwixt 
them, and so it stood seven nights. But whereas 
King Magnus gat much lesser folk, he saw nothing 
for it but to share the land with Harald. And in 
such wise was it shared, that each should have 
one-half against the other of the realm that King 
Sigurd had had. But ships, and board-array, 
and precious things, and all chattels that King 
Sigurd had had, King Magnus had ; yet was he 
the worser pleased with his lot. However, for a 
while they ruled over the land in peace, though 
each kept his counsels much to himself. 

King Harald begat a son called Sigurd on Thora, 
the daughter of Guthorm Greybeard. King Harald 
gat Ingirid, the daughter of Rognvald, who was 
the son of Ingi, the son of Steinkel. King 
Magnus had for wife Kristin, daughter of Knut 
Lord, and sister of Valdimar the Dane-king. 
King Magnus grew nought loving to her, and sent 
her back south to Denmark, and sithence all went 
the heavier for him, and mickle unthank gat he 
from her kindred. 

1 1 Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 3 1 5 


WHEN AS they had been kings for three 
winters, Magnus and Harald, they sat 
both the fourth winter north in Cheap- 
ing, and each gave other home-bidding, and yet 
was it ever at the point of battle with their folk. 
But toward spring King Magnus sought with a 
ship-host south around the land, and drew to him 
folk all that he might, and seeks of his friends 
if they would to get him strength hereto, to take 
Harald from his kingdom, and to allow him so 
much of dominion as might seem good to himself; 
and he sets it forth to them how Harald had afore- 
time forsworn the kingdom. King Magnus gat 
hereto the consent of many mighty men. 

King Harald fared to the Uplands, and so by 
the inland road east unto Wick. He also drew 
folk to him, when he heard of King Magnus' doings. 
And wheresoever they went, each hewed the other's 
beasts and slew each other's men. King Magnus 
was mickle more manned, for he had all the main 
of the land for folk-getting. 

Harald was in the Wick, on the east side of the 
firth, and drew folk to him, and then each took from 
other both men and goods. Was then with Harald, 
Kristrod, his very mother's brother, and many 
landed-men were with him, yet mickle more with 
King Magnus. Harald was with his host at a 
place called The Force, in Ranrealm, and went 
thence out towards the sea. On the eve of 
Lawrence Wake they ate their meat at night 

316 The Saga Library. II 

whereas 'tis called Fyrileif, but the warders were a- 
horseback, and held horse-guard all ways about 
the stead. And therewithal were the warders 
ware of the host of King Magnus, that they fared 
<now to the stead ; and King Magnus had nigh on 
sixty hundreds of men, while Harald had but 
fifteen hundreds. Then came the watch and bare 
the news to King Harald, and said that the host of 
King Magnus was come upon the stead. Harald 
answers : "What may our kinsman King Magnus 
will ? Never will it be that he shall will to fight with 
us ?" Then answers Thiostolf Alison : " Lord, thou 
wilt have to make rede for thee and this folk, as if 
King Magnus will have been drawing an host 
together all the summer to this end, that he will 
fight with thee so soon as he should find thee." 
Then stood the king up and spake to his men, and 
bade them take their weapons if Magnus will fight. 
Thereon was the blast blown, and all the host of 
Harald went out from the stead into a certain 
acre-garth, and there set up their banner. 

King Harald had two ring-byrnies, but Kristrod 
his brother had never a byrny, he who was called 
the most valiant of men. 

When King Magnus and his men saw the host of 
King Harald, they arrayed their host, and made 
so long an array that they might ring around all 
Harald's host. So says Haldor Gabbler : 

More mickle long gat Magnus 
The rank-wing : there he leaned on 
A many folk. Warm slaughter 
Did cover up the meadow. 

Ill Magnus the Blind and Har aid Gilli. 3 1 7 


KING MAGNUS let bear before him 
the Holy Cross in the battle; there 
was mickle battle and hard. Kristrod, 
king's brother, had gone with his company in the 
midmost array of King Magnus, and hewed on 
either hand, and men shrunk the two ways before 
him. But a certain mighty bonder, who had been 
in the host of King Harald, was standing at the 
back of Kristrod, and reared aloft his spear two- 
handed, and thrust it through his shoulders, and 
it came out through the breast of him, and there 
fell Kristrod. Then spoke many who stood by, 
why he did that ill deed. He answers : " Now 
he wotteth how that they hewed my beasts last 
summer, and took all that was at home, and had 
me perforce into their host. Such I minded for 
him erst, if I might but get the chance thereof." 

After that came flight into King Harald's 
host, and he fled away himself and all his host. 
Then were fallen a many of King Harald's folk. 
There gat his bane-wound Ingimar of Ask, the 
son of Svein, a landed-man of King Harald's host, 
and nigh sixty of the bodyguard. 

So King Harald fled east into the Wick to his 
ships, and fared sithence to Denmark to find King 
Eric Everminded, and besought him of avail 
when they met south in Sealand. King Eric gave 
him a good welcome, and the most for this sake, 
that they had sworn brotherhood between them. 
He gave to Harald Halland for maintenance and 
dominion, and gave him eight long-ships unrigged. 

3i 8 The Saga Library. IV 

After that fared King Harald north over Hal- 
land, and then came folk to join him. King 
Magnus laid all the land under him after this 
battle ; he gave life and limb to all the men who 
were hurt, and let tend them as his own men, for 
he called then all the land his ; and now he had 
all the best choice of men who were in the land. 

But when they took counsel together, then Sigurd 
Sigurdson and Thorir, the son of Ingirid, and all 
the wisest men would that they should hold the 
flock in the Wick, and abide there if Harald should 
come from the south. But King Magnus took the 
other way with his wilfulness, and went north to 
Biorgvin and sat there through the winter, and let 
the host fare from him, and the landed-men to their 


KING HARALD came to King's Rock 
with the host which had followed him from 
Denmark. Then landed-men and towns- 
folk had a gathering there before him, and set their 
battle in array up above the town. But King 
Harald went up from his ships and sent men 
to the host of the bonders, and bade them that 
they should not battle him from his own land ; 
and gave out that he would claim no more than 
he had right to have ; and men fared betwixt. At 
last the bonders gave up the gathering, and went 
under King Harald's hand. Then gave King 
Harald for his hosting fiefs and grants to the 

V Magnus the Blind and Har aid Gilli. 319 

landed-men, and bettering of rights to the bonders, 
they who turned into the host with him. 

After that much folk gathered to King Harald. 
He fared by the east round the Wick, and gave 
good peace to all men, save the men of King 
Magnus ; them he let rob and slay wheresoever he 
came upon them. And whenas he came from the 
east unto Sarpsburg, then took he there two of 
King Magnus's landed-men, Asbiorn to wit and 
Nereid his brother, and gave before them the 
choice, that one should hang, and the other be cast 
into the force of Sarp, and bade them choose 
themselves betwixt them. Asbiorn chose to fare 
into Sarp, for he was the older, and that death was 
deemed the grimmer ; and so was it done. This 
Haldor Gabbler telleth : 

Asbiorn, who held evil words 

With the king, must needs be striding 

Forth into Sarp : wide feedeth 

The king the hawks of battle. 

The king let hang up Nereid 

Upon the grim tree baneful 

Of Sigar's foe : paid scatterer 

Of wave-flame speech of house-thing. 

After that King Harald went north to Tunsberg, 
and there had he good welcome, and mickle host 
gathered to him. 


KING MAGNUS sat in Biorgvin and 
heard these tidings. Then he let call to 
talk with him all such lords as were then 
in the town, and asked them for rede as to what- 
wise things should be dealt with. Then answers 

320 The Saga Library. V 

Sigurd Sigurdson : " Hereto can I lay good rede : 
Let man thee a cutter with good men and true, and 
get for a master thereof me, or some other landed- 
man, to fare to meet King Harald thy kinsman, 
and bid him peace, according as rightwise men 
here in the land may settle between you, such that 
he shall have one half of the realm against thee ; and 
this seemeth likely, that by the pleading of good 
men King Harald will take that bidding, and that 
thus there will be peace betwixt you." 

Then answered King Magnus : " I will not have 
this choice ; or of what avail was it that we won 
under our sway the whole of the realm last autumn, 
if we shall now share away one half thereof ? Give 
some other rede hereto." 

Then answers Sigurd Sigurdson : " So meseems, 
lord, that now thy landed-men sit at home, and 
will not come to thee, they who in harvest prayed 
thee for leave to go home. Thou didst that then 
much against my rede, to let drift so much that 
multitude which then we had; for I deemed I 
wotted that Harald and his would seek back to 
the Wick, as soon as they should hear that it was 
lordless. Now is there another rede toward, and 
ill it is, yet maybe it will do. Do to fare home 
thy guests and other folk with them against such 
landed-men who will not now bestir them in thy 
need, and slay them and give their goods to such 
as be trusty to thee, though hitherto they have 
not been of much account. Let them whip up the 
folk ; have thou evil men, no less than good ; and 
then fare east against Harald with what folk thou 
mayst get, and fight him." 

VI Magmis the Blind and Harald Gilli. 321 

The king answered : " Unbefriended will that 
be to let slay many great men, and to heave up 
little men instead ; for they have oft failed no less, 
and the land were worse manned than erst. I will 
hear yet more rede of thine." 

Sigurd answered : " Now is rede-giving growing 
troublous to me, in that thou wilt not make peace 
and wilt not fight. Fare we north then to Thrand- 
heim, where the land's might is most for us, and 
take all the folk we may get on the way ; and 
perchance the Elfgrims will thus weary of drifting 
after us." 

The king answered : " I will not flee before 
those whom we chased last summer ; so give me 
some better rede." 

Then stood up Sigurd and made him ready to 
go, and said : " Then I shall rede the rede which 
I see thou wouldst have, and which will be fol- 
lowed : sit here in Biorgvin till Harald come with 
a crowded host, and then thou wilt have to thole 
either death, or shame else." And Sigurd was no 
longer at this talk. 


KING HARALD fared from the east 
along the land, and had an all-mickle 
host. This winter was called throng- 
winter. King Harald came to Biorgvin on Yule- 
eve, and laid his host into Floru-bights, and would 
not fight on Yule for its holiness' sake. But King 
Magnus let array him in the town. He let rear a 
v. Y 

322 The Saga Library. VII 

slaughter-sling out in Holm, and let make iron 
chains with wooden spars betwixt, and lay them 
right athwart the bight over from the King's-garth to 
Monkbridge on Northness. He let forge caltrops, 
and scatter them about over unto Jonsmeads, and 
only three days in the Yule-tide were holden holy 
from smith's work. But on the out-going day of 
Yule, King Harald let blow the host to give way. 
In Yule-tide nine hundreds of men had gathered 
to King Harald. 


KING HARALD benight to King Olaf 
the Holy for victory, to let do an Olaf's 
church there in the town at his own cost 
only. King Magnus set his battle in array out in 
Christ's Churchyard, but King Harald rowed first 
over to Northness. But when King Magnus and 
his saw that, they turned up into the town and 
into Bightbottom. And as they fared up the street 
then ran many townsfolk into courts and to their 
homes, but those who fared over unto the Meads 
ran against the caltrops. 

Then' saw King Magnus and his folk that King 
Harald had rowed all the host over into H erne- 
wick, and went there up on to the bents above the 
town. Then turned King Magnus out along the 
street, and then his host fled away from him, some 
up into the fell, othersome up past N unseat, some 
into churches, or they hid them in other places. 
King Magnus went on board his ship, but there 
was no chance for them to fare away, for the iron 

Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 323 

chains held them from without. Few men withal 
followed the king, and therefore were they good for 
nothing. So says Einar Skulison in Harald's drapa : 

The Biorgvin wick 
Week-long they locked ; 
For the surfs thole-stiers 
Was no departing. 

A little thereafterwards came King Harald's 
men out aboard the ships, and then was King 
Magnus laid hand on, whereas he sat aft in the 
fore-room on the high-seat chest, and with him 
Hakon Fauk, his mother's brother, the fairest of 
men, albeit not called wise ; but Ivar, son of 
Ozur, and many other friends of his were then 
laid hand on, and some were slain straightway. 


THEN King Harald had a meeting with 
his council, and bade them take rede with 
him, and at the close of this meeting 
it was settled to take Magnus from kingdom in 
such wise that he might never thenceforth be called 
a king. So he was given into the hands of the king's 
thralls, and they gave him maiming ; stung out 
his eyes, to wit, and hewed from him one foot, and 
at last was he gelded. Ivar, son of Ozur, was 
blinded ; Hakon Fauk was slain. 

After this all the land was laid under the sway 
of King Harald. And then there was much seek- 
ing after those who had been the greatest friends 

324 The Saga Library. IX 

of King Magnus, or who would most wot of his 
treasures or his precious goods. 

King Magnus had had the Holy Cross with him 
ever since the battle befell at Fyrileif, and would 
not tell now where it was become. Reinald, Bishop 
of Stavanger, was an Englishman, and was called 
much wealth-yearning. He was a dear friend of 
King Magnus, and men thought it like that into 
his keep had been given much money and precious 
things. So men were sent for him, and he came 
to Biorgvin, and this privity was laid to his charge ; 
but he denied it, and bade the ordeal thereto. King 
Harald would not that, but laid on the bishop to pay 
him fifteen marks of gold. The bishop said he 
will not make his see poorer by all that; he will 
rather risk life. Sithence they hanged Bishop 
Reinald out on Holm on the slaughter-sling. 
And when he walked up to the gallows, he shook 
the boot from his foot, and said and swore withal : 
" I know of no more of King Magnus' wealth than 
what is in this boot." And in it was a gold ring. 
Bishop Reinald was laid in earth in Michael's 
Church on Northness, and this deed was much 
blamed. After this Harald was sole king over 
Norway while he lived. 


FIVE winters after the death of King Sigurd 
great tidings befell at King's Rock. At that 
time were rulers there Guthorm, the son of 
Harald Fletcher, and Ssemund Housewife, who had 

IX Magnus the Blind and HaraldGilli. 325 

for wife Ingibiorg, the daughter of Priest Andres, 
the son of Bruni. Their sons were these, Paul 
Flip and Gunni Fiss. Ssemund had a baseborn 
son hight Asmund. Andres, son of Bruni, was a 
man of great mark ; he sang at Christ's Church ; 
Solveig hight his wife. With them was then at foster- 
ing and rearing Jon, the son of Lopt, eleven winters 
old ; Priest Lopt, the son of Saemund, the father 
of Jon, was also there. The daughter of Priest 
Andres and Solveig his wife hight Helga, whom 
Einar had to wife. 

Now it befell at King's Rock on the Lord's night 
the next after Easter week, that a great din was 
heard out in the streets throughout all the town, 
like as when the king fares with all his court, and 
hounds went on so ill that they might not be 
heeded, but broke out. And all who came out 
became mad, and bit all that was in their way, 
man or beast ; but all that was bitten, and that the 
blood came out of, became mad, and all creatures 
with young lost their birth and became mad. Hereof 
was minding wellnigh every night from Easter unto 
Ascension day. Then men were much adrad of 
these wonders, and many betook themselves away 
and sold their garths, and went off to the country, 
or else into some other cheaping towns, and to all 
them who were wisest, these things seemed of the 
greatest weight, and they were afraid, as forsooth it 
befell, that this forewent some great tidings which 
were not come to pass. But Priest Andres spoke 
long and deft on Whitsunday, and turned his dis- 
course to a close in such manner that he spake 
about the trouble of the townsfolk ; and he bade 

326 The Saga Library. 

men harden their hearts and not to void that 
glorious stead, but rather take heed to themselves, 
and look to their rede to guard them as far as in 
them lay against all things, fire and unpeace, and 
to pray to them the mercy of God. 


OUT of the town thirteen ships of burden 
were arraying them, and were minded for 
Biorgvin, and eleven were lost with men 
and goods and all on board ; but the twelfth was 
broken, and men were saved, but the goods 
lost. Then fared Priest Lopt north to Biorgvin 
with all his belongings, and he had everything 
safe. The ships were lost on the vigil of 

Eric the Dane-king and Archbishop Ozur sent 
word both to King's Rock, and bade them there 
to be wary about their town ; said that the Wends 
had a great host abroad, and harried wide against 
Christian men, and ever had the victory. But the 
townsmen laid over-little mind on their affairs, 
and gave the less heed to it and forgat it the more 
the longer time wore on from that awe which had 
come upon them. 

But on the day of Lawrence-wake whenas high 
mass was being said, came Rettibur the Wend- 
king to King's Rock, and had five hundreds and an 
half of Wend-cutters, and on every cutter were 
four-and-forty men and two horses. Dunimiz. 
hight the king's sister's son, and Unibur hight a 

X M agnus the Blind and Har aid Gilli. 327 

lord who ruled over much folk. Those two lords 
rowed with some of the host up the east branch 
round Hising, and so came down upon the town, 
but some of the host they laid up the west branch 
to the town. They made land out by the stakes, 
and landed there the horse, and they rode up over 
Brentridge, and so up round the town. 

Einar, Andres' son-in-law, brought these news 
up to Castle Church, for there were the folk of 
the town, and had all sought to high mass ; and 
Einar came in whenas Priest Andres was at his 
reading. Einar told men that an host fared upon 
the town with a many warships, and some of the 
host was riding down over Brentridge. Then 
said many that that would be Eric the Dane-king, 
and people looked but for peace from him. 

Then ran all the folk down into the town for 
their goods, and they weaponed them, and went 
down to the bridges, and saw straightway that it was 
unpeace, and an host not to be put to flight. Nine 
east-faring ships floated in the river off the bridges, 
which chapmen owned, and the Wends laid these 
aboard first and fought with the chapmen ; the 
chapmen weaponed them, and fought long and 
manly. There was the hard battle ere the chap- 
men were overcome ! In this brunt the Wends 
lost an hundred and an half of ships with all hands. 
While the battle was at its most the townsfolk 
stood on the bridges and shot at the heathen. 
But when the battle slackened, then fled the towns- 
folk up into the town, and sithence all folk to 
the castle, and men had with them their precious 
things, and all the goods they could take with 

328 The Saga Library. XI 

them. Solveig and her daughters and two other 
women went up country. 

When the Wends had won the chapmen they 
went aland and kenned their folk, and then was 
their scathe clear. Some ran into the town, other- 
some aboard the chapmen, and took all the 
goods which they would with them ; and next to 
that they set fire to the town, and burnt it altogether, 
along with the ships. After that they made for the 
castle with all their host, and arrayed them to 
besiege it. 


KING RETTIBURlet bid them who were 
in the castle to walk out and have their 
life and limb, with their weapons and 
clothes and gold ; but all they whooped against it, 
and went out on the burg. Some shot, some 
stoned, some cast logs, and then was mickle battle, 
and men fell on either side, but mickle more of 
the Wends. 

But Solveig came up to the homestead hight 
Sunberg, and there told the tidings. Then was 
sheared the war-arrow and sent to Skurbaga. 
There was a certain gild-drinking toward, and a 
many men. There was that bonder, who hight Olvir 
Micklemouth. He leapt up straightway, and took 
his shield and helm and a mickle axe in his hand, and 
spake : " Stand we up, good fellows ! take ye your 
weapons ! and fare we to give help to the towns- 
folk ; for that will be deemed a shame by every 
man that heareth thereof, if we sit here swilling us 

XI M agnus the Blind and HaraldGilli. 329 

with ale, while good men and true shall be laying 
their lives in peril on our behalf in the town." 

Many answered and spake against it ; said that 
they would tyne themselves and bring no help to 
the townsfolk. Then leapt up Olvir and said : 
" Though all other dwell behind, yet shall I fare 
myself alone ; and certes the heathen shall lose one 
or two for me or ever I fall." So he runs down to 
the town. 

Men fare after him, and will see his faring, and 
also if they might help him somewhat. But when 
he came so near to the castle that the heathen men 
saw him, there ran against him eight men together, 
all-weaponed. But when they met, the heathen 
ran round about him. Olvir reared up his axe, 
and smote the forward horn thereof under the chin 
of him who stood at the back of him, so that the 
jaw and the windpipe were smitten asunder, and 
this one fell aback face upmost. Then he swung 
the axe forth before him and hewed another on the 
head, and clave him down to the shoulder. Then 
they shot at each other, and he slew yet two, and was 
himself much wounded ; and the four who were left 
fled therewith. Olvir ran after them, but a certain 
ditch was before them ; two of the heathen leapt 
thereinto, and Olvir slew them both, and then he, 
too, stuck fast in the ditch. But two heathen out 
of the eight got away. 

The men who had followed Olvir took him 
and flitted him back with them to Skurbaga, and 
he was healed whole, and that is men's say, that 
never has a man fared manlier faring. 

Two landed-men, Sigurd Gyrdson, brother of 

330 The Saga Library. XI 

Philip, and Sigard came with six hundreds of men 
to Skurbaga ; and there Sigurd turned back with 
four hundred men, and was thought sithence of little 
worth, and lived but a short while. But Sigard 
fared with two hundred men to the town, and 
fought there with the heathen men, and fell with 
all his folk. 

The Wends sought to the castle, but the king and 
his captains stood without the battle. On a certain 
stead whereas the Wends stood, was a man who 
shot from a bow, and did a man to bane with 
every arrow ; before him stood two men with 
shields and sheltered him. Then spake Ssemund 
to Asmund, his son, that they should shoot at the 
shooter both at once, " and I shall aim at him who 
bears the shield." And he did so. But that man 
shoved the shield before him. Then shot Asmund 
between the shields, and the arrow came on the 
brow of the shooter, so that it came out at the 
nape, and he fell aback dead. And when the 
Wends saw that, they all howled as dogs or 

Then let King Rettibur call to them and bid 
them life and limb, but they would have none 
of it. Sithence gave the heathen a hard onset. 
There was one of the heathen men who went so 
nigh, that he went right up to the castle-door 
and thrust his sword at the man who stood within, 
the door ; but men bore on him shot and stones, 
and he was shieldless, but so much-cunning was 
he, that no weapon bit on him. Then Priest 
Andres took hallowed fire and signed it, and cut 
tinder and set fire thereto, and set it on an arrow- 

XI Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 331 

point and gave it to Asmund ; and he shot this 
arrow to the wizard-man, and so bit that shot, that 
he had enough, and fell dead to earth. Then let 
the heathen ill-like as erst, howled and gnashed. 
Then went all folk to the king, and it seemed to the 
Christian men that rede might be forward that 
they (the heathen) would get them gone. There- 
withal wotted an interpreter who knew Wendish, 
what that lord said who is named Unibur. So 
spake he : " This is a fierce folk and ill to deal 
with, and though we take all the wealth that is in 
this place, yet might we well give as much again 
that we had never come here, so mickle folk have 
we lost, and so many captains. Now first to-day 
when we fell to fighting with the castle, they had 
for their defence shot and spears ; then next they 
beat us with stones, and now they beat us with 
sticks like dogs. So I see thereby that their stuff 
for warding them is drying up ; therefore we shall 
give them a hard brunt, and try them." 

So was it even as he said, that there they shot 
logs ; but in the first brunt they had borne shot- 
weapons, nought recking, and stones withal. But 
when the Christian men saw that the much logs 
were minishing, they hewed atwain each log. 

But the heathen set upon them, made a hard 
brunt, and rested between whiles. Now on both 
sides men got weary and wounded. And amidst of 
a lull the king let bid them life and limb, and that 
they should have their weapons and clothes and 
whatsoever they could themselves bear out of the 
castle. By then was fallen Saemund Housewife, and 
that was rede of men, they who were left, to give 

33 2 The Saga Library. XI 

up the castle and themselves into the power of the 
heathen men ; and the unhandiest of redes was 
that, whereas the heathen kept not their word ; 
they took all men, carles, queans, and bairns, slew 
a many, all that was hurt and young, and seemed 
to them ill to flit after them ; they took all the 
wealth that was in the castle ; they went into Cross 
Church and robbed it of all its plenishing. Priest 
Andres gave King Rettibur a staff done with silver 
and gilded, and to Dunimiz,his sister's son, a finger- 
gold ; whereby they deemed they wotted that he 
would be a man of rule in the stead, and held him of 
more worth than other men. They took the Holy 
Cross, and had it away. They took also the table 
which stood before the altar, which King Sigurd 
had let do in Greekland and had into the land, but 
they laid it down on the grades before the altar. 
Then walked they out of the church. 

Then said the king: " This house has been 
wrought with mickle love to that God who this 
house owns ; but meseems this, that little heed has 
been had of this stead or house, for I see that God 
is wroth to those in whose keep it is." 

King Rettibur gave to Priest Andres the church 
and the shrine, the Holy Cross, the book, Plenarium, 
and four clerks. But the heathen burnt the church 
and all the houses that were within the castle. But 
the fire which they kindled in the church slaked 
twice ; then they hewed down the church, and then 
it began to blaze all within, and burned even as 
the other houses. 

Then fared the heathen with their war-catch to 
their ships, and kenned their folk ; but when they 

XI Magnus the Blind and Har aid Gilli. 333 

saw their scathe, then took they for war-catch all 
the folk and shared it between the ships. Then 
Priest Andres and his fared aboard the king's ship 
with the Holy Cross ; then came dread over the 
heathen from this foreboding, that over the king's 
ship came so mickle heat, that they all deemed them- 
selves nigh to burning. The king bade the in- 
terpreter ask the priest why that betid. He said 
that the Almighty God in whom the Christian men 
trowed, sent them a mark of his wrath, in that they 
were so overbold as to lay hands on the mark of 
his passion, they who would not trow in their own 
shaper ; and so mickle might goeth with the Cross, 
that oft before have betid such tokens to heathen 
men, who have laid hands on it, yea, and some yet 

The king let shove the clerks into the ship's-boat, 
and Priest Andres bore the Holy Cross in his 
bosom. They led the boat forth endlong of the 
ship, and forward about the beard, and aft along 
the other board to the poop, and sithence shoved 
forks thereat and thrust the boat away in towards 
the bridges. Sithence fared Priest Andres with the 
Cross by night to Sunberg, and there was both storm 
and rain. Andres flitted the Cross into safe keeping. 

King Rettibur and his host, what was left thereof, 
fared away and back to Wendland ; and a many of 
the folk that had been taken in King's Rock were for 
long afterwards in Wendland in bondage ; but all 
they who were loosed out and came back to Nor- 
way to their heritage became all of less thriving. 
But the cheaping of King's Rock has never sithence 
gotten such uprising as was erst. 

334 The Saga Library. X I I-X 1 1 1 


MAGNUS, who had been blinded, fared 
sithence to Nidoyce, and betook him to 
a cloister, and took monk's raiment. 
Then Much-Hernes in Frosta was made over to 
that cloister for his maintenance. 

But the winter after Harald ruled the land alone, 
and gave peace to all men who would have it, and 
took many men into his bodyguard who had been 
with Magnus. Einar Skulison says so, that King 
Harald had two battles in Denmark, one at Hvedn, 
the other by Hlesisle : 

Thou the toil-eager dyer 
Of raven's mouth, thou lettest 
On men untrusty redden 
Thin edges neath high Hvedn. 

And this withal : 

Thou High's sark's hardy reddener, 
Fight hadst thou off the flat strand 
Of Hlesey, there where gales blew 
The banners o'er the warriors. 


KING HARALD GILLI was the most 
bounteous of men. So it is said, that in 
his days there came from Iceland, for 
bishop's hallowing, Magnus Einarson, and the king 
was wondrous well with him, and gave him great 
honour. And when the bishop was outboun and 
the ship alboun, he went to the hall where the king 

Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 335 

drank, and greeted him dearly and hailed him. 
The king welcomed him well and blithely. The 
queen sat beside the king. Then spake the king : 
"Lord bishop, art thou now boun to depart?" 
He said that so it was. The king spake : " Thou 
didst not hit upon a good time, whereas thou art 
come when the boards are up ; now there is nought 
to give thee so worthy as should be ; or what is 
there to give the bishop ? " 

The treasurer answered : " Given away now, we 
deem, are all the precious things." 

The king said : " There is yet left this board- 
beaker here. Take that, bishop ; there is wealth 
therein." The bishop thanked him for the honour 
done him. 

Then said the queen : " Fare hale and happy, 
lord bishop ! " 

The king spake to her : " Fare hale and happy, 
lord bishop ! What noblewoman heardest thou so 
speak to her bishop and give him nought ? " 

She answers : " What is thereto now, lord ? " 
The king said : "There is the bolster under thee." 

Sithence that was taken ; it was sheared out 
of pall, and the dearest of things was that. And 
when the bishop turned away, the king let take the 
bolster from under him, and said : " Long have 
they been together." 

Sithence the bishop fared away, and came out 
to Iceland to his chair, and then was it talked over 
what should be made of the board-beaker for the 
most honour of the king. The bishop asked for 
rede thereon, and men said it should be sold and 
the worth thereof given to poor people. 

336 The Saga Library. XIV 

Then said the bishop : " Other rede will I take : 
a chalice shall be made thereof here at this see, 
and thereover will I so say, ' Avail it him ! ' and I 
would that sithence all they, the holy men, of whom 
are holy relics in this church the holy, would let it 
avail him whenever mass is sung over it." 

And that chalice is there sithence at the stead 
Skalholt ; and of the pieces of the pall that were 
drawn over the bolsters which the king gave the 
bishop, there are they now made fore-song copes, 
and are there still in Skalholt. In this matter may 
one mark King Harald's greatness of mind, as in 
many other things, though here there be but little 
written thereof. 


A MAN is named Sigurd who grew up in 
Norway, and was called the son of Priest 
Adalbrikt. The mother of Sigurd was 
Thora, the daughter of Saxi in Wick, and sister to 
Sigrid, the mother of King Olaf Magnusson and 
Kari Kingsbrother, who had to wife Borghild, the 
daughter of Day Eilifson. Their sons were these : 
Sigurd of Eastort and Day. The sons of Sigurd 
were these : Jon of Eastort, Thorstein, and Andres 
the Deaf. Jon had to wife Sigrid, the sister of 
King Ingi and of Duke Skuli. In his childhood 
Sigurd was set to books, and he became a clerk, 
and was hallowed a deacon. But when he was 
full-come to age and strength, he was of all men 
the most valiantest looked, and the strongest ; a 

Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 337 

mickle man, and in all prowess was he beyond all 
of like years and wellnigh every other man in 
Norway. Sigurd was early a man mickle masterful 
and brawling, and he was called Slembi-deacon. 
He was the goodliest of men to behold, somewhat 
thin-haired, yet well-haired. 

Now this came up before Sigurd, that his mother 
said that King Magnus Barefoot was his father ; 
and so soon as he came to rule his ways himself, 
he thrust aside clerkly ways and fared away from 
the land, and in those farings he dwelt a long while. 
Then arrayed he his ways to Jerusalem, and came 
to Jordan, and sought to holy relics, as palmers are 
wont. And when he came back he dwelt in cheap- 
ing voyages. One winter he was stayed some 
while in the Orkneys, and was in the company of 
Earl Harald at the fall of Thorkel Fosterling, the 
son of Summerlid. Sigurd was also up in Scotland 
with David the Scot-king, and was held there of 
great account. Sithence fared Sigurd to Denmark, 
and that was his say, and the say of his men, that 
there he had flitted ordeal for his fatherhood, and 
it bore it out that he was the son of King Magnus, 
and that five bishops had been thereat. So says 
Ivar, son of Ingimund, in the Sigurd-balk : 

Made ordeal 
O'er the Shieldings' kin 
Five bishops 
The foremost deemed. 
So went the trial, 
That of this mighty 
And bounteous king 
Was Magnus father. 
V. Z 

338 The Saga Library. XV 

The friends of King Harald said it had but been 
the guile and lying of Danes. 


THAT is said of Sigurd Slembi that he had 
to do with chaffer-farings certain winters. 
One winter he was in Iceland, and was 
that winter with Thorgils Oddison in Saurby, and 
few men wotted who he was. It betid in harvest, 
whenas wethers were driven into the fold, and 
were had eye upon for slaughtering, that, as they 
were laying hands on the wethers, one of them ran 
towards Sigurd as if it sought thither for help. 
Sigurd reaches his hand towards it, and lifts it out 
of the fold, and lets it run up into the fell, and said : 
"No more seek trust to us now than that trust 
shall to them be." 

That befell also in the winter that a woman had 
stolen, and Thorgils was wroth with her, and would 
punish her. She ran there for help whereas was 
Sigurd, and he set her down on the dais beside 
him. Thorgils bade him hand her over, and tells 
him what she had done, but Sigurd bade peace for 
her, " since she has come for help to me, so for- 
give her her trespass." Thorgils said she should 
be pined therefor. And when Sigurd saw that he 
would not hear his prayer, he leaps up, and drew 
his sword, and bade him come on. And when 
Thorgils saw that he will ward her with fight, the 
man seemed to him to be of mickle countenance, 
and he misdoubted him who he might be, and so for- 
bore to do aught to the woman, and gave her peace. 

XV Magnus the Blind and Harold Gilli. 339 

More outland-men were there, and Sigurd made 
the least show of himself. One day when Sigurd 
came into the chamber there was an Eastman 
playing at tables with a homeman of Thorgils, and 
he was a man of mickle bravery of array, and took 
much on himself. The Eastman called to Sigurd 
to give him rede of the game ; he looked on it, and 
said he deemed it lost. Now the man who played 
with the Eastman had a sore foot, and his toe was 
swelled and ran. Sigurd sat down on the dais and 
drew a straw along the floor. But kitlings were 
running about the floor ; he draweth ever the straw 
before them till it came over the man's foot. But 
he sprang up and cried out withal, and the table 
was upset. So now they fell to wrangling which 
had it. 

For this reason is this told, because Sigurd was 
deemed to have done a deft trick. 

Nought wotted men that he was learned till the 
wash-day before Easter, when he sang over water, 
and all the more was thought of him the longer he 

The next summer, ere they parted, Sigurd said 
that Thorgils might send men to Sigurd Slembi 
as one who knew him. Then answers Thorgils : 
" How far art thou from his kindred ? " He 
answers : " I am Sigurd Slembi-deacon, the son of 
Magnus Barefoot." Thereupon he fared abroad. 

34-Q The Saga Library. XVI 


WHEN Harald had been king over Nor- 
way for six winters, Sigurd came to 
Norway and went to see King Harald 
his brother, and met him at Biorgvin, and went 
forthwith to the king and made clear to him his 
fatherhood, and bade the king take him as kins- 
man. The king gave no swift decision out on 
that matter, but bare it before his friends, and had 
talk and meetings with them. But from their talk 
came that up, that the king bare guilts at the hand 
of Sigurd concerning that, how he had been at 
the slaying of Thorkel Fosterer west beyond sea. 
Thorkel had followed King Harald to Norway 
then when he had first come into the land, and he 
had been the greatest friend of King Harald. 
Now this matter was followed up so fast that 
there was Sigurd cast for death ; and by the rede 
of landed-men it came about that late of an evening 
certain Guests went whereas was Sigurd, and called 
on him to come with them, and took a certain 
cutter and rowed away from the town with Sigurd, 
and south unto Northness. Sigurd sat aft on the 
chest and thought over his case, and misdoubted 
him that this would be some treason. He was so 
arrayed that he had on blue breeches, and a shirt, 
and a mantle with cords for over-cloak. He looked 
down before him, and had his hands on the mantle- 
cords, and whiles did it off, whiles over his 

But when they had come about the ness, they 

Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 341 

were merry and drunken, and rowed at their utmost, 
and took little heed of their ways. Then stood 
up Sigurd, and went to do his easement overboard, 
but the two men who were gotten to guard him 
stood up and went to the board with him, and 
took the mantle both of them and held it before 
him, as is wont to be done with mighty men. But 
whereas he misdoubted him that they had hold of 
more of his garments, then gripped he each in 
either hand, and cast him overboard with all that ; 
but the cutter sped far forward, and it was a slow 
work for them to turn, and long the tarrying before 
they gat their men taken up. But Sigurd took 
such a long dive away from them, that he was 
up aland before they had turned their ship after 

Sigurd was of all men the swiftest afoot, and he 
takes his way upland, and the king's men fared 
and sought for him all night and found him not. 
He lay down in a certain rock-rift, and grew much 
cold ; so he did off his breeches and cut a hole in 
the seat-gore and slipped it on, and took his hands 
through, and thus he helped his life for that while. 

The king's men fared back, and might not hide 
their misadventure. 


SIGURD thought he found that it would 
not help him to seek to find King Harald, 
and he was about in hiding-places all 
through the autumn and early winter. He was 

342 The Saga Library. XVII 

in the town of Biorgvin in hiding with a certain 
priest, and laid plans if thereby he might be the 
scathe-man of King Harald, and in these redes 
with him were a much many men, and some who 
even then were of King Harald's court and house- 
hold ; but they had formerly been courtmen of 
King Magnus, but now they were in mickle good- 
liking with King Harald, so that there were ever 
some of them who sat over the board with the 

Lucia-mass in the evening talked together two 
men who sat there, and one of them said to the 
king : " Lord, now have we put the decision of 
our quarrel to thy settlement ; for we two have 
each of us laid wager of an ask of honey : I say 
that thou wilt lie to-night by Queen Ingirid, thy 
wife ; but he sayeth that thou wilt lie by Thora, 
the daughter of Guthorm." 

Then the king answered laughing, and was much 
unwitting that this asking was of such mickle guile, 
and said : " Thou wilt not win the wager." 

And thencefrom they deemed they knew where 
he was to be found that night, but the headwatch 
was then holden before that chamber wherein most 
folk thought was the king, and wherein slept the 

Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli. 343 


men with him came to that chamber whereas 
the king slept and broke open the door, 
and went in with drawn swords ; and Ivar Kolbein- 
son first won work on King Harald. But the king 
had laid down drunken and slept fast, and awoke 
therewith that men were smiting on him, and spake 
in his unwit : " Sorely dealest thou now with me, 
Thora!" She leapt up thereat and said: "They 
deal sorely with thee, who will thee worse than I." 

There lost King Harald his life ; but Sigurd 
with his men went away. And then he let call to 
him those men who had behight him their fellow- 
ship if he should get King Harald taken from his 
life-days. Then went Sigurd and his men aboard 
a certain cutter, and men dight them to the oars, 
and rowed out into the bight unto the King's 
Garth, and then the day began to dawn. 

Then stood up Sigurd and spake to those who 
stood on the King's Bridges, and gave forth the 
slaying of King Harald at his hand, and bade 
them take him to them ; and this withal, to take 
him to king, as behoved of his birth. 

Then there drifted thither on to the bridges a 
many of men from the King's Garth, and answered 
all, as if they spake with one mouth, and said 
that that should never be, that they should give 
obedience and service to the man who had mur- 
dered his brother ; " but if he were not thy brother, 
then hast thou no kindred to be king." 

344 The Saga Library. XVIII 

They smote their weapons together and judged 
them all to outlawry and out of peace. Then was 
the king's horn blown, and all landed-men and all 
the bodyguard were summoned together. 

But Sigurd and his men saw that for their 
fairest choice, to get them gone. So then he went 
to North- Hordland and had there a Thing with 
the bonders, and they went under him and gave 
him king's-name. Fared he then into Sogn, and 
there had a Thing with the bonders, and there, 
too, he was taken to king. Fared he then north 
into the Firths, and there he was well welcomed. 
So says Ivar Ingimundson : 

Took to the bounteous 
Magnus' son 
Hords and Sogners, 
When fallen was Harald. 
Swore there a many 
Men at Thing 
To the king's son 
In his brother's stead. 

King Harald was buried at Christchurch the 






INGIRID the queen, and with her the 
landed-men and the bodyguard which King 
Harald had had, areded it that a swift cutter 
was arrayed and sent north to Thrandheim to tell 
the fall of King Harald, and that withal, that the 
Thrandheim folk should take to king Sigurd, the 
son of Harald, who then was north there, and 
Seed-Gyrd, the son of Bard, fostered him. But 
Queen Ingirid fared forthwith east into Wick. 
Ingi hight a son of her and King Harald who 
was a-fostering there in the Wick with Amundi, the 
son of Gyrd, the son of Law-Bersi. But when 
she and hers came into the Wick, a Borg-Thing 
was summoned, and there was Ingi taken to king ; 
then was he in his second winter. To this rede 
turned Amundi, and Thiostolf, son of Ali, and 
many other mighty chiefs. 

But when the tidings came north to Thrand- 
heim, that King Harald was cut off from life, then 

348 The Saga Library. II 

was taken to king Sigurd, the son of King 
Harald, and to that rede turned Ottar Brightling, 
Peter, son of Sheepwolf, and the brothers Guthorm 
of Reinir, the son of Asolf, and Ottar Balli, and a 
many of other chiefs. And under the sway of 
those brethren turned nigh all the folk, and of all 
things mostly for this sake, that their father was 
called holy. On such terms was the land sworn 
to them, that under no other man should it go 
while any one of the sons of King Harald was yet 


north beyond Stad, and when he came 
into Northmere there were come already 
letters and tokens of those counsellors who had 
turned under obedience to the sons of King 
Harald, and there he got no acceptance or up- 
raising. But whereas he was himself of few folk, 
he and his areded to shape their course for 
Thrandheim, whereas he had already sent before 
him word in thither to his own friends, and to the 
friends of King Magnus who had been blinded. 
And when he came to Cheaping, he rowed up 
into the river Nid, and they got their hawsers 
ashore at the King's Garth ; yet had they to make 
off again, for all the folk withstood him. Sithence 
they laid to Holme, and there took out of the 
cloister Magnus, the son of Sigurd, against the 
will of the monks, for he had erst taken monk's 

II The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 349 

hallowing. But it is most men's say, that Magnus 
came out of his own free will, though the other 
tale was done for the bettering of his case. Sigurd 
hoped to gather folk hereby, and so it turned out. 
This was close after Yule. 

Fared Sigurd and his folk down the firth ; 
sithence sought after them Biorn Egilson, Gunnar 
of Gimsar, Haldor Sigurdson, Aslak Hakonson, 
and the brothers Benedict and Eric, and the 
bodyguard which had erst been with King 
Magnus, and a many of other men. They fared 
with their flock south about Mere, and all 
till off the mouth of Raumsdale. There they 
sundered their company, and Sigurd Slembi- 
deacon fared west over sea straightway that 
winter, but Magnus fared unto the Uplands, and 
looked for mickle folk to him there, which he got ; 
and he was there through the winter, and all the 
summer through withal in the Uplands, and had 
then much folk. 

But King Ingi fared against him with his band, 
and they met there as it is hight Mouth. There 
was mickle battle; King Magnus had more folk. 
So it is said that Thiostolf, son of Ali, had King 
Ingi in his kilt while the battle was, and he went 
under banner, and Thiostolf came into mickle need 
from toil and onset ; that is the talk of men, that 
then King Ingi got the ill- health which he had all 
his life after ; his back was knotted, and one leg 
was shorter than the other, and so little of strength 
that it was ill walking for him while he lived. 

Then turned the manfall on to King Magnus' 
men, and these men fell in the first array : Haldor 

350 The Saga Library. II 

Sigurdson and Biorn Egilson, Gunnar of Gimsar, 
and a great part of King Magnus* host, ere he 
would flee or ride away. So says Kolli : 

Point-storm with sword thou wroughtest, 
O king, beneath the war-helm, 
In the eastward off the Mouth there 
The ravens' host gat banquet. 

And this withal : 

Before the king ring-bounteous 
Would fare away, on field there 
Lay all his chosen warriors. 
The fight-deft king to Heaven .... 

Magnus fled thence east to Gautland and so to 
Denmark. At that time was Karl Sonason earl in 
Gautland, a mighty man and greedy. Magnus the 
Blind and his men said, wheresoever they came 
before great men, that Norway would lie loose 
before any great lords that would seek to it, 
whereas there was no king over the land ; the sway 
of the landed-men was over the land, but all the 
landed-men who first were taken to bear rule 
thereover, were now at odds with each other for 
envy's sake. Now inasmuch as Earl Karl was 
greedy of dominion, and gave good ear to talk 
thereof, then gathers he folk and rides from the 
east into the Wick, and much folk went under him 
for fear-sake. 

But when Thiostolf Alison and Amundi hear 
this, then fare they to meet him with what company 
they could get, and took King Ingi with them. 
They came upon Earl Karl and the host of the 
Gauts east in Crookshaw, and had there another 

Ill The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 351 

battle, and King Ingi won the victory. There 
fell Munan Ogmundson, mother's brother to Earl 
Karl. Ogmund, the father of Munan, was the 
son of Earl Orm, the son of Eilif and of Sigrid, 
the daughter of Earl Finn, the son of Ami. 
Astrid, the daughter of Ogmund, was the mother 
of Earl Karl. Many folk fell at Crookshaw, but 
the earl fled eastward out of the wood. King 
Ingi drave them all the way east out of his realm, 
and their faring was of the foulest. So says 
Kolli : 

Tell shall I how the lord-king 
Reddened the bright wound-ice rods ; 
In Gauts' wounds dived the raven, 
The erne him rilled unseldom. 
Those hardeners of the sword-din 
Who made the war, full soothly 
Were paid for all at Crookshaw ; 
Thy might indeed is proven. 


THEN sought Magnus the Blind to Den- 
mark to find King Eric Everminded, and 
gat good welcome there. He bade Eric 
to fare with him to Norway if Eric would lay the 
land under him, and fare with a Dane-host into 
Norway ; and says that if he comes with strength 
of host, no man in Norway would dare to shoot a 
spear against him. Hereat the king shaped his 
mind and bade out an host, and fared with six 
hundred ships north into Norway, and in that 
journey were King Magnus the Blind and his men 

35 2 The Saga Library. IV 

with the Dane-king. But when they came into the 
Wick they fared in some measure with peace and 
quietness along the east side of the firth, but when 
they brought their host to Tunsberg, there was before 
them a great gathering of the landed-men of King 
Ingi. Waterworm Dayson, brother of Gregory, ruled 
most over them ; there the Danes might not come 
up aland, nor get for them any water, and a many 
of their men were slain. Then they stood up 
the firth for Oslo, and there was before them 
Thiostolf Alison. So goes the story that they 
would let bear the shrine of Hall ward the Holy out 
of the town in the evening, and so many went 
thereunder as could find room, yet got it borne no 
longer than out on to the church-floor. But in the 
morning, when they saw that the host came up on 
the west side of Headey, then four men bore the 
shrine up out of the town, but Thiostolf and all the 
folk of the town followed the shrine. 


KING ERIC and his folk sought up into 
the town, but some ran after Thiostolf 
and his folk. Thiostolf shot a bolt at 
the man hight Askel, who was a forecastle man 
of King Eric, and smote him under the jaw, so 
that the point showed through the nape, and 
a better shot Thiostolf deemed he never had 
shot, for nought was there bare on him save only 

The shrine of the holy Hallward was flitted up 

V The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 353 

into Raumrealm, and was there three months. 
Thiostolf fared over Raumrealm, and gathered 
folk through the night, and came down to the 
town in the morning. 

King Eric let set fire to Hallward's church, and 
wide about the town, and burnt all up outright. 
Then came Thiostolf down with mickle folk, but 
King Eric put off with his ship-host, and they 
might get aland nowhere on the northern side of 
the firth, for the gatherings of landed-men there, 
and wheresoever they sought to go aland they left 
lying five or six or more of them. 

King Ingi lay in Hornborusound with mickle 
folk, and when King Eric heard thereof he turned 
back south to Denmark. King Ingi fared after 
them, and laid hand on whatsoever of them he 
might, and that is the talk of men, that never was 
fared a worser faring into another king's realm with 
a mickle host, and King Eric liked mightily ill of 
King Magnus and his men, and deemed they had 
much mocked him, whereas they had brought him 
on this faring, and he gave out that he would not 
sithence be the friend of them such as he had been 


summer from west over sea to Norway. 
But when he heard of the unhap of Magnus 
his kinsman, he deemed he knew that he had little 
to trust in Norway, and so he sailed all outway 
v. A A 

354 77* Saga Library. V 

south along the land, and came forth into Denmark, 
and held into Eresound. But to the south of Erri 
he came upon certain Wend-cutters, and laid to 
battle with them, and won the victory, and ridded 
there eight cutters, and slew many men, but some 
he hanged. He also had a fight at Man with 
Wends, and had the day. Then held he from 
the south, and hove into Elf, the east branch 
thereof, and there overcame three ships of Thorir 
Hvinantordi and Olaf, the son of Harald Halberd, 
his sister's son ; the mother of Olaf was Ragnhild, 
the daughter of Magnus Barefoot. He chased 
Olaf aland. 

Thiostolf was in King's Rock, and had gathered 
against him, and thither held Sigurd, and they 
shot at each other, and men fell on either side, and 
many got wounded. Sigurd and his men gat no 
upgoing. There fell Wolfhedin, son of Saxolf, a 
north-countryman (of Iceland), and Sigurd's fore- 
castle man. Sigurd put off again, and held north 
into the Wick, and robbed widely. He lay in 
Portyria in Limgarthside, and waylaid there ships 
that went to or fro the Wick, and robbed them. 
TheTunsberg men made an host against him, and 
came upon him unawares, where Sigurd and his 
were ashore sharing their plunder, and some of the 
host came down on them, and others laid ships 
athwart the haven outside of them. Sigurd ran 
aboard his ship, and rowed out at them, and the 
nearest ship was that of Waterworm, and he let 
back water, and so Sigurd rowed out by them and 
got away in one ship ; but many fell of his folk. 
Therefore this was sung : 

VI The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 355 

Waterworm nought well was 
In stour there at Portyria. 


sithence south to Denmark, and from his 
ship was lost a man called Kolbein Thor- 
liotson of Batald ; he was in the cock-boat, which 
was in tow of the ship ; but they sailed much fast. 
Sigurd wrecked his ship when he came south, and 
he was in the winter at Alaburg. But the next 
summer fared Magnus and Sigurd with seven 
ships from the south, and came to Listi unawares 
by night, and laid their ships aland. There was 
before them Bentein, son of Kolbein, a courtman 
of King Ingi, and the most stout-hearted of men. 
Sigurd and his went up there in the lightening of the 
night, and came unawares, and took the houses on 
them, and would lay fire in the stead ; but Bentein 
got out into a certain bower with his wargear, and 
well bedight of weapons, and stood inside the door 
with a drawn sword, and had a shield before him, 
and a helm on his head, and was ready to ward 
him. The door was somewhat low, and Sigurd 
asked why they went not in ; but they answered 
that no one was eager thereto. 

But while they were in the height of their talk 
about this, Sigurd leapt into the house past him ; 
Bentein hewed after him, and missed him ; and 
then Sigurd turned upon him, and but few blows 
they gave and took ere Sigurd slew him, and bore 
his head out in his hand. 

356 The Saga Library. VI 

They took all the wealth that was in the stead, 
and fared sithence to their ships. But when King 
Ingi and his friends heard of the slaying of Bentein, 
and those Kolbeinsons, Sigurd and Gyrd, the 
brethren of Bentein, the king made an host against 
Sigurd and his, and fared himself, and took a ship 
from under Hakon Pungelta, the son of Paul, and 
daughter's son of Aslak, the son of Erling of Soli, 
who was the son of the mother's sister of Hakon 
Maw. Ingi chased Hakon aland, and took every 
whit of their baggage. These fled away into the 
firth : Sigurd Stork, the son of Eindrid of Gaut- 
dale, and Eric Heel, his brother, and Andres 
Wellshit, the son of Grim, from Vist. But Sigurd 
and Magnus, and Thorleif Skep, sailed north by 
the outer course with three ships unto Halogaland, 
and Magnus was through the winter in Birchisle 
with Vidkunn Jonson. But Sigurd hewed off stem 
and stern of his ship, and sheared rifts therein, 
and sank it in the innermost ^Egisfirth ; but Sigurd 
sat the winter through in Tentsound at Hin, in the 
part called Cleuchfirth. In the upper part of the 
firth there is a cave in the burgs ; there sat Sigurd 
and his, winter over, more than twenty of them ; 
and built up the door of the cave so that it might 
not be seen from the foreshore. These gat Sigurd 
victual through the winter : Thorleif Skep and 
Einar, the son of Ogmund of Sand and Gudrun,. 
the daughter of Einar, the son of Ari of Reek- 
knolls. This winter, it is said, that Sigurd let Finns, 
make him two cutters up the Firths, and they 
were sinew-bound and had no nails therein, and 
withies for knees, and twelve men aside rowed on 

VII The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 357 

each. Sigurd was with the Finns while they made 
the cutters, and the Finns had ale there, and made 
Sigurd a feast there. Then Sigurd sang this : 

'Twas good in the Fin-cot, 
While glad we were drinking, 
And glad the king's son 
Wandered twixt benches. 
Game was not wanting 
At gamesome drinking ; 
Thane gladdened thane 
There where aland he was. 

These cutters were so swift, that no ships might 
overtake them on water, even as was sung : 

Few things will follow 
The fir of the Haleygs ; 
Swift under sail is 
The sinew-bound keel. 

But in spring fared Sigurd and Magnus from 
the north with those two cutters which the Finns 
had made, and when they came to Vagar they slew 
there the priest Svein and his two sons. 


SIGURD held then south into Wick, and 
there they took William the Skinner, who 
was a landed-man of King Sigurd's, and 
another was Thorald Chaps, and them both they 
slew. Then Sigurd went south along the land, and 
there came upon Styrkar Glossy-Tail south off 
Byrda, whenas he fared from the south from Cheap- 

358 The Saga Library. VII 

ing, and him they slew. And when Sigurd came 
south to Valsness he hit upon Swine-Grim there, 
and let hew from him his right hand. Then he fared 
south to Mere, outside of Thrandheim-mouth, and 
took there Hedin Hardmaw, and Calf Cringle- Eye, 
and he let Hedin go away, but Calf they slew. 

King Sigurd and Seed-Gyrd, his foster-father, 
heard of the farings of Sigurd and what he was 
about. So they sent out men to search for him, 
and got for leaders thereof Jon Kauda, son of Calf 
the Wrong, and brother to Bishop Ivar, and another 
man withal, Priest John Sparrowhawk, to wit. 
They manned the Reindeer, which was of two- 
and-twenty benches, and of all ships the swiftest. 
They fared to seek Sigurd, but found him not, and 
fared back north with but little renown, whereas 
men said thus, that they saw them, but durst not 
fall on them. 

Then fared Sigurd south to Hordaland, and 
came to Herdla. There had dwelling Einar, the 
son of Laxe-Paul, but he had gone into Hammer- 
firth to Ganging-days' Thing. They took all the 
goods that was at home, and a long-ship of five- 
and-twenty benches which Einar had, and a son 
of his four winters old, who lay by one of his 
workmen ; some would slay the lad, but some 
would have him away with them. The workman 
said : " It will be but little hap to you to slay this 
lad, and no gain will it be that ye have him away ; 
for this is my son, not Einar' s." 

And for his words they let the boy alone, and 
fared away. But when Einar came home he gave 
to the workman goods to the worth of two ounces 

VIII The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 359 

of gold, and thanked him for his doings, and said 
he would be his friend ever after. 

So says Eric Oddson, who wrote this story for 
the first time, that he heard in Biorgvin Einar 
Paulson tell the tale of these haps. 

Then Sigurd fared south along the land, and all 
the way east to the Wick, and hit on Finn, the 
son of Sheep- Wolf, east at Kvilds, as he fared to 
call in the land-dues of King Ingi, and let hang 
him. Sithence fared they south to Denmark. 


THE men of Wick and of Biorgvin said it was 
unseemly that King Sigurd and his friends 
should sit quiet north in Cheaping, even 
though his father's banesmen fared the highway 
outside of Thrandheim-mouth, and King Ingi and 
his host sat east in Wick in peril, and warded the 
land, and had had many battles. Then sent King 
Ingi letters north to Cheaping, wherein there were 
these words : 

"To King Sigurd, his brother, and Seed-Gyrd, 
and Ogmund Sweep, and Ottar Brightling, and to 
all landed-men and courtmen, and house-carles, 
and all the all-folk, happy and unhappy, young 
and old, King Ingi, the son of King Harald, 
sendeth God's greeting and his. To all men 
are known the troubles we have on hand, and 
our youth withal, in that thou art five winters 
old, and I am but of three winters ; and we two 
may bestir us in no matter, but if we avail us of 

360 The Saga Library. IX 

our friends and of good men. Now I and my 
friends deem that we are standing nigher to the 
trouble and the need of both of us than thou or 
thy friends. Now do so well as to fare to meet me 
at thine earliest, and as much bemanned as may 
be ; and let us be both together whatever may 
happen. Now he is our most friend who holdeth 
to this, that we be ever most wholly at peace, and 
that we be holden in all things most equal. But 
if thou hang back, and choose not yet to stir at 
my word, as afore thou hast done, thou shalt look 
to this, that I shall fare on thine hand with an 
host, and then let God judge between us. For 
we may no longer put up with things as they are, 
to sit with so mickle cost and such multitude of 
men as here is needed for unpeace sake, while thou 
takest one-half of all land-dues and other incomings 
of Norway. Live in God's peace ! " 


THEN answered Ottar Brightling, and stood 
up in the Thing, and said : " This is the 
word of King Sigurd, that this be said to 
King Ingi, his brother, that God thank him fora 
good greeting, and for the toil and trouble that 
thou hast, and thy friends in this realm for the 
need of us both. Now, though some things in 
King Ingi's words to King Sigurd, his brother, 
be found somewhat hard, yet has he a mickle cause 
for his say in many wise. 

"Now I will make known my mind, and hear 

X The Story of Ingi, son of H amid. 361 

whether the will of King Sigurd and other mighty 
men follow there with, to wit, that thou, King Sigurd, 
array thee, with such host as will follow thee, toward 
thy land, and fare thou as much manned as may 
be to meet King Ingi, thy brother, and when first 
thou mayest, and let each of you strengthen the 
other in all matters happy, and God both of you. 
Now will we hear thy words, king." 

Peter, the son of Sheep- Wolf, who afterwards 
was called Peter Burden-Swain, carried King 
Sigurd to the Thing. Then said the king : " Let 
all men wot that, if I shall rule, I shall fare 
to meet King Ingi, my brother, when first I 

But then one spoke after the other, and though 
each began in his own way, yet closed he his 
speech in one and the same manner as Ottar 
Brightling had answered ; and then it was settled 
to gather an host, and to fare east into the land. 
Sithence King Sigurd went east into the Wick, 
and there met King Ingi, his brother. 


THE same harvest-tide came Sigurd Slembi- 
deacon and Magnus the Blind from the 
south from Denmark with thirty ships, 
both Danes and Northmen ; and this was nigh 
to Winter-nights. But when the kings and their 
host hear these tidings, they fare east to meet 
them. They met at Holm-the-Gray in Whaleisles 
the next day after Martin-mass, which was Sunday. 

362 The Saga Library. X 

Kings Ingi and Sigurd had then twenty ships and 
all big; there was mickle battle. But after the 
first brunt the Danes fled with eighteen ships and 
home south, and then were ridded the ships of 
Sigurd and Magnus. And when the ship of 
Magnus was much ridded, and he was lying in his 
berth, Hreidar, the son of Gritgarth, who long 
had followed him and been his courtman, took 
King Magnus in his arms, and was minded to run 
into another ship. Then was Hreidar shot with a 
spear between his shoulders and therethrough ; 
and so say men, that King Magnus got his bane 
from that very same spear, and Hreidar fell back 
on the deck, and Magnus on the top of him. And 
that saith every man, that he may be deemed 
to have followed his liege lord well and valiantly. 
Good is it for each who getteth such good renown ! 
There fell Lodin Sup-proud of Linestead on board 
King Magnus' ship, and Brusi, the son of Thor- 
mod, a forecastle-man of Sigurd Slembi, and Ivar, 
son of Kolbein, and Halward the Polisher, a fore- 
room man of Sigurd Slembi. This Ivar was the 
man who went in to King Harald, and first won 
stroke on him. Then fell mickle deal of the folk 
of Sigurd and Magnus, for the men of Ingi let 
none get away whom they could catch, though I 
name but few men thereto. In one holme they 
slew more than sixty men. There were slain two 
men of Iceland, Sigurd, a priest, son of Bergthor, 
the son of Mar, and Clement, the son of Ari, the 
son of Einar. Ivar Gaud-hank, the son of Calf 
the Wrong, who was sithence bishop north in 
Thrandheim ; he was father of Archbishop Eric ; 

X The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 363 

Ivar had always followed Magnus ; he got him 
into the ship of Jon Kauda, his brother, who 
had to wife Cecilia, the daughter of Gyrd Bardson ; 
he was there of the host of Kings Ingi and Sigurd, 
and these three gat them into Jon's ship, besides 
Ivar ; to wit, Arnbiorn Ambi, who sithence wedded 
a daughter of Thorstein of Audsholt, but the third 
was Ivar Dint, the son of Stari, and brother to 
Helgi, the son of Stari, but a Thrandheimer by 
his mother's kindred, and the goodliest of men. But 
when the company was ware thereof that they were 
there, they gripped their weapons and went at Jon 
and his, but they in their turn got ready for them, 
and the whole host was at the point of fighting 
between themselves. But they came to peace in 
such wise, that Jon ransomed his brother Ivar and 
Arnbiorn, and handselled bail for them, and that 
money was given back to him sithence. But Ivar 
Dint was led up aland and hewn down, whereas 
the sons of Kolbein, Sigurd and Gyrd, would take 
no money for him, for they laid to him that he had 
been at the slaying of Bentein their brother. So 
said Bishop Ivar, that that had so overcome him 
that it seemed to him the worst of things when 
Ivar was led up aland under the axe, and kissed 
them first, and bade they might meet hale again. 
So told Gudrid, the daughter of Birgir, and sister 
to Archbishop Jon, to Eric Oddson, and she gave 
out that she had heard Bishop Ivar so tell. 

364 The Saga Library. XI 


who steered a ship in King Ingi's host. 
And now things had so come about that 
Ingi's men rowed in small boats after the men 
who were swimming in the sea, and slew every one 
they caught. Sigurd Slembi-deacon jumped from 
his ridded ship into the deep and slipped off his 
byrny in the dive, swam sithence, and had a shield 
over him. But certain men from Thrand's ship 
took a man swimming and would slay him, but he 
prayed off, and gave out that he would tell them 
where was Sigurd Slembi : and that they would. 
But shields and spears, and men dead, and garments 
were floating wide about the ships. " Ye will see," 
said he, " where floateth a red shield ; thereunder 
is he." Sithence rowed they thither, and took him 
and brought him to Thrand's ship ; but Thrand 
sent word to Thiostolf and Ottar and Amundi. 
Sigurd Slembi had had on him a tinder-box, and 
the touch-wood was inside a walnut-shell, done 
about with wax outwardly. Therefore is this told, 
because it was deemed thoughtful to do it so up, that 
it should never get wet. Therefore had he a shield 
over him as he swam, because no one could tell 
whether that was his or some other one's shield, since 
many were floating on the sea. So said they, that 
they would never have hit on him if it had not been 
told about him. Now when Thrand came aland with 
him, it was told to the men of the host that he was 
taken, and a whoop of joy broke out through the 

XI The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 365 

host, and when Sigurd heard that, he said : " Many 
an evil man will be fain of my head to-day." Then 
went to him Thiostolf Alison, and strake a silken 
cap belaid with gold off his head, and then spake 
Thiostolf : " Why wast thou so overbold, thou 
thrall's son, to dare to call thyself the son of King 
Magnus?" He answers : " No need for thee to 
square my father with a thrall, for of little worth 
was thy father beside mine." 

Hall, the son of Thorgeir Leech, the son of 
Stone, was a courtman of King Ingi, and was 
anigh there when these things were betiding ; and 
he told this tale to Eric Oddson, who wrote it 
down after him. Eric wrote the book which is 
called " Backbone-Piece." In that book is told of 
Harald Gilli and of his two sons, and of Magnus 
the Blind and of Sigurd Slembi, all unto their 
death. Eric was a wise man, and was at this time 
long in Norway. Some of his story he wrote 
down from the telling of Hakon Maw, a landed- 
man of the sons of Harald ; and Hakon and his 
sons took part in all these strifes and counsellings. 
But Eric names more men who told him of these 
tidings, wise men and proven true, who were anigh, 
so that they heard or saw the things that happened, 
but some he wrote down from his own sight or 

366 The Saga Library. XII 


HALL says this, that the chiefs would let 
slay him straightway, but those men who 
were grimmest, and deemed they had to 
wreak their harms upon him, ruled his torments, 
and thereto were named the brethren of Bentein, 
Sigurd and Gyrd, the sons of Kolbein ; and Peter 
Burden-Swain withal would revenge Finn his 
brother. But the chiefs and most other folk went 

They brake his legs asunder with axe-hammers, 
and his arms withal. Then they stripped him of 
his clothes, and were minded to flay him quick, 
and they ripped the scalp off his head ; but they 
might not do it, because of the blood-rush. Then 
they took walrus-hide whips and beat him long, 
so that wellnigh was the hide off, as if it were 
Hayed. But sithence they took a stock and shot 
it at the backbone of him, so that it went asunder. 
Then they dragged him to a tree and hanged him, 
and hewed off his head sithence, and dragged his 
body away and thrust it in a heap of stones. 

That is all men's say, his friends and his unfriends, 
that no man in Norway, within those men's 
memory who then were up, was doughtier in all 
matters than was Sigurd, but a man of evil luck 
was he in some things. So said Hall, that he 
spoke few and answered few, though men put 
words to him ; but that says Hall thereto, that he 
started never therewith more than if they had 
been smiting a stock or stone. But that let Hall 

XII The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 367 

follow, that it might be with a valiant man, one 
well furnished with stoutness, that he should stand 
pining so far, that the man could hold his mouth, 
and cringe but little thereat ; but Sigurd, said he, 
never changed his voice, and even as lightspoken 
was he as if he were on an ale-bench within ; he 
never spoke higher or lower or more quavering 
than was his wont therein, and he spake right on 
till he gave up the ghost, and sang one-third of the 
Psalter; and it seemed to Hall that he thought 
this overpassed the valour and strength of other 

But the priest, he who had the church a short 
way thence, let bear the body of Sigurd thither 
to the church ; and that priest was a friend 
of those sons of Harald. But when that was 
heard, they cast their wrath upon him, and let 
flit the corpse back to where it was before, and 
the priest, withal, must needs pay geld therefor. 
But the friends of Sigurd fared sithence on a ship 
of Denmark from the south after the body of 
him, and brought it to Alaburg and buried it at 
Mary-church in the town there. So said Provost 
Ketil, who was the ward of Mary-church in that 
town, to Eric, that Sigurd was buried there. 
Thiostolf Alison let bear the body of King Magnus 
to Oslo, and bury him at Hall wards-church beside 
King Sigurd his father. Lodin Sup-proud they 
brought to Tunsberg, but all other folk they buried 

368 The Saga Library. XIII 


SIGURD and Ingi had ruled over Norway 
for six winters. That spring came Eystein 
from the west from Scotland, and he was 
the son of Harald Gilli. Ami Stour and Thorleif, 
son of Bryniolf, and Kolbein Heap had all gone 
west over the main after Eystein, and followed 
him into the land, and they held straightway north 
to Thrandheim, and the Thrandheim-folk took him 
up, and he was taken to king at the Ere-thing 
about the Ganging-days, in such wise that he 
should have one-third of Norway against his 
brothers. Sigurd and Ingi were then east in the 
land. Fared men between those kings, and ap- 
peased them in such wise that Eystein should have 
one- third of the realm. No ordeals were made for 
Eystein towards his fatherhood, for it was taken for 
true what King Harald had given out thereanent. 
Biadak hight the mother of King Eystein, and she 
came to Norway with him. 

Magnus hight the fourth son of King Harald ; 
him Kyrping-Worm fostered ; he was also taken 
to king, and he, too, had his share of the realm. 
Magnus was unhale of his feet, and lived for but 
a little while, and died of sickness. Of him Einar 
Skulison tells : 

Eystein gives wealth to people ; 
Sigurd the shield-din eketh ; 
Ingi sets blows a-singing ; 
Magnus frames peace of man-folk. 
The kin of the king most noble 

XIV The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 369 

In blood the fight-tent reddens. 
Never four brethren nobler 
Under the sun come out yet. 


AFTER the fall of King Harald Gilli, Queen 
Ingirid was wedded to Ottar Brightling ; 
he was a landed-man and a mickle lord, 
a Thrandheimer of kin, and was of great avail to 
King Ingi while he was in his childhood. King 
Sigurd was no great friend of his, for he deemed 
he leaned altogether towards King Ingi his stepson. 
Ottar Brightling was slain in a single fight north 
in Cheaping one evening, as he was going to even- 
song. When he heard the whine of the stroke, 
he turned up his arm and the cloak therewith 
against it, and thought that a snowball had been 
cast at him, as oft is the wont of young swains. 
He fell at the blow, but Alf Ruffian, his son, came 
therewith walking into the churchyard, and saw 
the fall of his father, and also that the man who 
had done the slaying ran eastward round about 
the church. Alf ran after him and slew him at 
the songhouse corner, and men said that the ven- 
geance had gone well with him, and he was thought 
a man much more thereafter than erst. 

v. B B 

370 The Saga Library. XV-XVI 


up Thrandheim when he heard of the fall 
of Ottar, and he summoned to him an host 
of bonders, and fared out to the town, and was 
full well-manned. Now Ottar's kinsmen and friends 
laid this rede mostly on King Sigurd, who was 
then in Cheaping, and the bonders were much 
fierce against him. But the king bade ordeal for 
himself and gave pledge for iron-bearing, that so 
he should make good his case ; and thereby peace 
was made. Fared King Sigurd after that into 
the south-land, and this ordeal he never delivered 
him of. 


QUEEN INGIRID had a son with Ivar 
Skewer who hight Worm, and sithence was 
called King's-brother. He was the fairest 
to look upon, and became a mickle lord, as later on 
yet will be told. Queen Ingirid was given to Arni 
of Stodreim ; he was sithence called King's-step- 
father; and their children were Ingi, Nicolas, 
Philippus in Herdla, and Margaret, whom Biorn 
the Buck had to wife, and after him Simon, the son 
of Kari. 

XVII The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 371 


ERLING hight the son of Kyrping-Worm 
and Ragnhild, the daughter of Sveinki, 
the son of Steinar. Kyrping-Worm was 
the son of S vein S veinson, the son of E rlend of Garth. 
The mother of Worm was Ragna, the daughter of 
Earl Worm Eilifson and Sigrid, the daughter of 
Earl Finn Arnison. The mother of Earl Worm 
was Ragnhild, the daughter of Earl Hakon the 
Mighty. Erling was a wise man, and a mickle 
friend of King Ingi, and through his counsel Erling 
got to wife Kristin, the daughter of King Sigurd 
and Queen Malmfrid. Erling had a house at 
Studla, in South Hordland. Erling fared away 
from the land, and with him Eindrid the Young, 
and yet more landed-men, and had a brave com- 
pany. They arrayed them for a Jerusalem-faring, 
and fared west over sea to Orkney. Thence went 
Earl Rognvald, who was called Kali, and Bishop 
William, and from the Orkneys they had altogether 
fifteen longships, and sailed to the South-isles and 
thence west to Valland, and that way sithence 
which King Sigurd the Jerusalem-farer had fared 
out to Norfisound, and they harried wide about 
Spain the heathen. Shortly after they had sailed 
through the sound, Eindrid the Young parted com- 
pany, and those who followed him, in six ships, and 
after that each party went their own way. But 
Rognvald the Earl and Erling Askew hit upon a 
Certain dromond on the main and laid thereto with 
nine ships, and fought with them ; and at last they 

372 The Saga Library. XVII 

laid the cutters under the dromond. Bare down 
on them then the heathen both weapons and 
stones and pots full of boiling-pitch and wood- 
butter. Erling laid his ship nighest to them, and 
the weapon-cast of the heathen went beyond that 
ship. Hewed then Erling and his rifts in the 
dromond, some below watermark, some on the 
hull, so that they fared in. So says Thorbiorn 
Skald-askew in Erling's drapa : 

Swift Northmen fearless hewed 
On the new hull-board windows 
In the deep with war-axe edges ; 
That was a work all willing. 
Wasters of eagles' hunger 
From up above your wiles saw : 
Upon the wave-mew sheared ye 
With irons open breaches. 

Audun the Red, a forecastle-man of Erling's, 
hight the man who first went up on the dromond ; 
they wan the dromond, and slew there a wondrous 
many men, and took there exceeding mickle 
wealth, and won fair victory. 

Earl Rognvald and Erling Askew came in this 
faring to Jerusalem-land, and out to the river 
Jordan ; then they turned back, and first to Mickle- 
garth, where they left their ships behind, and fared 
the landroad from the east, and held them all hale 
till they came to Norway, and their journey was 
praised right much. Erling was deemed now 
mickle more of a man than erst, both for his journey 
and for his wedding ; he was withal wise of wit, 
wealthy and of high kindred, and deft of speech 
withal, and was most leaning in all friendship 
toward King Ingi of all those brethren. 

XVI 1 1 -X I X Story oflngi, son ofHarald. 373 


KING SIGURD rode a-guesting with his 
court east into Wick, and rode through 
a stead that was owned of a mighty man 
called Simon. But as the king rode through the 
stead, then heard he in acertain house singing so fair, 
that he thought right much thereof; and he rode to 
that house and looked in, and there a woman stood 
at a quern, and sang wondrous fair as she was a- 
milling. The king got off his horse, and went to 
the woman and lay with her. And when the king 
went away, then wotted goodman Simon what 
errand the king had had thither; but she hight 
Thora, and was a workwoman of goodman Simon. 
Sithence let Simon take heed to her ways. There- 
after the woman bare a bairn, and that child was 
named Hakon, and was called the son of King 
Sigurd. Hakon was brought up there with Simon, 
son of Thorberg, and Gunnhild, his wife. There, 
too, were brought up the sons of Simon and his 
wife, Onund and Andreas to wit; they loved Hakon 
mickle, and he them, so that nought but death 
might sunder them. 


stayed east in the Wick, near to the 
land's end; he fell to unpeace with the 
bonders of Ran realm and the dwellers of Hising; 

374 The Saga Library. XX 

so they made a gathering against him, and he had 
a battle with them, and gained the day. That 
hight Leikberg where they fought ; he burnt withal 
wide in Hising. Sithence the bonders went under 
his hand, and paid great fines, and the king took 
borrows of them. So says Einar Skulison : 

King famed and gift-free, 
The Wickmen paid he 
For their waywardly ways, 
And luck turned to his days. 
Most folk were afraid 
Ere they gat the peace made. 
Their fines eked he then, 
And had borrows of men. 

The king worked the fight 
With his brisk men and light 
Nigh to Leikberg, a town 
Of a wide-spread renown. 
Fast fled Ranfolk, and paid 
Whatsoe'er the king bade. 
There the folk handsel gave 
For the wealth him to have. 


A LITTLE after King Eystein dight his 
faring from the land west over the main, 
and sailed to Kataness, and heard that 
Earl Harald, the son of Maddad, was in Thurso, 
and he made thereto with three small cutters, 
and came upon them unawares ; but the earl had 
a thirty-benched ship and eighty men thereon. 
But whereas they were unready, there gat King 
Eystein and his men to board the ship, and laid 

XX The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 375 

hands on the earl and brought him with them 
aboard their ship. He ransomed himself with 
three marks of gold, and therewith they parted. 
So says Einar Skulison : 

Eight tens of men were standing 
Along with the son of Maddad; 
Mighty wound-Sogn's mew-feeder, 
Forsooth now grows renowned. 
The wearier of the wave-horse 
That earl took with three cutters ; 
Corpse-skua's valiant feeder 
Gave the famed king his head there. 

King Eystein sailed thence south by the east 
of Scotland, and laid to the Cheaping in Scotland 
hight Apardion, and slew there a many of men, and 
robbed the town. So says Einar Skulison : 

Apardion folk fell, 
As I have heard tell ; 
Peace did the king tear, 
Brake fight icicles there. 

Another fight he had south by Hiartapoll 
(Hartlepool) with a host of knights, and turned 
them to flight ; and he ridded certain ships there. 
So says Einar : 

The king's sword bit well ; 
On spears the blood fell. 
Leal court followed on, 
At Hiartapool won. 
Hot Rhine of the blade 
Hugin's joy made ; 
Wolf-wine waxed ; ridded were 
Ships of the English there. 

Then he held on south to England, and had the 

376 The Saga Library. 

third fight at Whitby, and got the victory and 
burnt the town. So says Einar : 

The king made the fight strong, 
And was there the sword-song ; 
Hild's clouds cloven down 
At Whitby the town. 
Fir-shaw's dog on that day 
O'er the houses did play ; 
Wolf's tooth reddened then ; 
Grief was gotten for men. 

After that he harried far and wide about Eng- 
land. Then was Stephen king in England. Next 
thereafter King Eystein had a fight at Skarp- 
skerries with certain knights. So says Einar : 

Fell fast the string's rain ; 
By the bold king was slain 
A shield-cunning host 
At Skarp-skerries' coast. 

Next to this he fought at Pulwyke, and gained 

the victory. So says Einar : 


Sword the king reddened there, 
The wolf-host to-tare 
The goodly lyke 
Of Ports in Pulwyke. 
The king did earn 
All Langton to burn, 
West o'er salt ; and the sword 
'Gainst brows of men roared. 

There they burnt Langton, a great thorpe, and 
men tell that that stead hath gotten little uprising 
sithence. After that King Eystein fared away 
from England, and back to Norway in the harvest ; 
and men talked about this journey all unevenly. 

XXI-XXII Story oflngi, son ofHarald. 377 


GOOD peace was in Norway in the early 
days of the sons of Harald, and their 
neighbourliness was abiding in a way 
while their counsellors of aforetime lived. But 
Ingi and Sigurd were children in years, and so 
had but one court for both ; but Eystein was by 
himself, being a man of full age. But when the 
following of Ingi and Sigurd was dead, Seed-Gyrd, 
the son of Bard, to wit, Amundi, the son of Gyrd, 
Thiostolf, the son of Ali, Ottar Brightling, 
Ogmund Sweep, and Ogmund Hammerer, the 
brother of Erling Askew, who was held of little 
account while Ogmund lived, then Ingi and Sigurd 
sundered their court, and then Gregory, the son 
of Day, who was the son of Eilif, and of Ragnhild, 
the daughter of Skopti Ogmundson, betook him- 
self to Ingi, and became his prop and stay. 
Gregory had store of wealth, and was himself a 
man of the most ado. And he became the chief 
ruler of the affairs of the land under King Ingi, 
who granted him leave to have of his own such as 
he would. 


KING SIGURD became a much violent 
man, and unpeaceful in all matters, so 
soon as he was grown up, yea, he and 
Eystein both, though as for Eystein he was more 

378 The Saga Library. XXII 

orderly of the two, yet of all men the most 
avaricious and niggardly. King Sigurd became a 
mickle man, and strong and valiant-looking, red of 
hair, ugly of mouth, but well as for other face- 
shaping; he was of all men the deftest in his 
speech, and the doughtiest. So says Einar 
Skulison : 

Mighty is Sigurd's deftness, 
Who reddens the sharp fires 
Of wound-flood, in the blood-flow. 
God's self the gifts him giveth. 
Whenas the ready-worded 
King of the Raumfolk speaketh, 
It is as hushed were others. 
Glad-spoken king doth grandly. 

King Eystein was a man swart of hair and dark 
of hue ; somewhat high of middle stature ; a wise 
man, and of good understanding. But that drew 
most the might from under him, his niggardliness 
and money greed. He had to wife Ragna, the 
daughter of Nicolas Mew. King Ingi was of all 
men the goodliest of face ; he had yellow hair, 
somewhat thin, and much curled. Slow of growth 
he was, and scarce might he go alone, so was his 
one leg wizen ; and crooked he was both of back 
and breast. He was soft-spoken and kind toward 
his friends, bounteous of wealth, and let much the 
chief men rule with him the land-matters; well 
beloved of all folk was he, and all these things 
together drew much under him of might and 
multitude. Brigida hight the daughter of King 
Harald Gilli ; she was first given to Ingi, the son 
of Hallstein, the Swede-king, and sithence to Earl 

XXIII The Story of Ingi, son ofHarald. 379 

Karl Sonison ; and then to Magnus, the Swede- 
king. He and King Ingi Haraldson were sons 
of the same mother. Last, Earl Birgir Brosa had 
her to wife, and they had four sons ; one was Earl 
Philip, another Earl Knut, the third Folki, the 
fourth Magnus. Their daughters were : Ingigerd, 
whom Sorkvir, the Swede-king, had to wife, and 
their son was King Jon ; another daughter was 
Kristin, a third Margret. Maria was the name 
of the second daughter of Harald Gilli, and her 
Simon Sheath, the son of Hallkel Hunch, had to 
wife; their son hight Nicolas. A third daughter 
of Harald Gilli was called Margaret, and her Jon, 
the son of Hallkel, the brother of Simon, had to 
wife. Now betid many things betwixt these 
brethren which made toward dissension, but I 
shall only set forth that which to me seemeth the 
most of tidings. 


town came to Norway in the days of the 
sons of Harald, and the Pope had sent 
him to Norway. Now the cardinal had wrath 
against the brothers Sigurd and Eystein, and they 
had to come to terms of peace with him, but he 
was exceeding friendly towards Ingi, and called 
him his son. And when they were all at peace 
with him, he granted to them to hallow Jon 
Byrgison Archbishop of Thrandheim, and fetched 
him that raiment which hight pallium, and laid 

380 The Saga Library. XXIV 

down that there should be an archbishop's chair 
at Nidoyce at Christ's Church whereas rests King 
Olaf the Holy, but before that time there had 
been leod-bishops only in Norway. The cardinal 
brought it about that no man should fare with 
weapons in cheaping-steads sackless, save the 
twelve men who had the following of the king. 
He bettered in many things the custom of men in 
Norway, while he was there in the land. Never 
has outland man come to Norway whom all men 
worshipped so mickle, or who might prevail so 
much with the all-folk as he. Sithence fared he 
south with a many of friendly gifts, and said he 
would always be the greatest friend of the North- 
men. But when he came south to Romeburg, the 
Pope who had been before died suddenly, and all 
folk of Romeburg would have Nicolas to pope. 
Then was he hallowed to pope with the name of 
Adrianus. So say those men who in his days 
came to Romeburg, that never had he so busy an 
errand with other men, that he spake not first ever 
with the Northmen who would have his speech. 
He was not long Pope, and he is called holy. 


IN the days of the sons of Harald Gilli it came 
to pass that a man who is named Hal dor 
came across Wends, and they took him and 
pined him, sheared his throat, and drew thereout 
his tongue, and sheared it off to the tongue-root. 
Sithence sought he to the holy King Olaf, and set 

XXV The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 381 

his heart fast toward that holy man, and prayed, 
much greeting, to King Olaf to give him speech 
and health. Thereupon he gat speech and mercy 
from this good king, and became straightway his 
servant all his life-days, and became a man of 
worship and trothfast. This miracle was half a 
month before the latter Olaf-mass, on the day 
when Cardinal Nicolas landed. 


THERE were two brothers in the Uplands, 
men of high kin and well for wealth ; they 
were the sons of Guthorm Graybeard, and 
were called Einar and Andreas, the mother's 
brethren of King Sigurd Haraldson, and had in 
those parts their heritage and all their goods. 
They had a sister, somewhat goodly to look to, 
but never too wary of the words of evil men, as 
was proven sithence. She had mickle kindness 
for a certain English priest hight Richard, who 
had his home with her brethren ; she did many 
things to please him, and oft mickle good for good- 
will's sake. As ill luck would have it, about this 
woman fared and flew a fearful word. Sithence, 
when it was a matter of common talk, then all men 
laid it on the hands of the priest, her brothers 
among the rest ; for straightway, when they were 
ware thereof, they took it that all folk held him to 
be the likeliest hereto, seeing what great kindness 
there was between these. Befell to them sithence 
mickle misfortune, as was not unlike, since they 

382 The Saga Library. XXV 

held their peace over a hidden guile, and went on 
as if they saw nought therein. Now one day they 
called the priest to them, and he, looking from 
them for nought save good alone, they drew him 
from home with them, and said they were going 
into another countryside on some business they 
had on hand there, and bade him keep them com- 
pany thither ; they had with them a homeman of 
theirs who wotted of this rede along with them. 
They fared a-shipboard along the water which is 
called Rand, and forth beside the strand thereof, 
until they came to the Ness which is called Shift- 
sand, where they went ashore and played there 
a while. Thence they fared into a certain lonely 
stead, and then they bade the workman smite him 
with an axe-hammer ; and he smote the priest so 
that he lay in a swoon. But when he gat his wit 
again, he spake: "Why shall I now be so hard 
dealt with ? " They answered : " Though no one 
tell thee, thou shalt now find out what thou hast 
done." And then they set their charges forth 
against him. He gainsaid them, and bade God 
judge between them and the holy King Olaf. 
Thereupon they broke in sunder his legs, and then 
dragged him between them into the wood and 
bound his hands behind his back. Thereafter 
they laid a string about his head, and a board 
under his back and head, and put a turn-stick 
therein, and twisted the string hard at the head. 
Then Einar took a peg and set it against the eye 
of the priest, and his servant stood thereover and 
smote at it with an axe, and let leap out the eye, 
so that forthwith it leapt down unto his beard. 

XXV The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 383 

Then he set the peg against the other eye, and 
said to the servant: "Strike a deal softer now." 
He did so, and the peg glanced off the eyeball 
and tore the lid away from it. Then Einar took 
the lid with his hand and held it up away from 
the eyeball, and saw that it was there ; then he 
set the peg down out by the cheek, and the servant 
struck, and the eyeball sprang out unto the cheek- 
bone where it was highest. Then they opened 
his mouth and seized the tongue, and drew it out 
and sheared it off; and thereafter they loosed his 
hands and head. 

Forthwith when he gat wit again, that was the 
first thing for him that he laid the eyeballs in 
their place up against the eyebrows, and held them 
with both hands as he might. 

Sithence they bore him aboard ship, and went 
to the homestead hight Seahome-derne, and 
landed there. They sent a man to the stead to 
tell them that the priest lay by the ship there 
on the strand. While the man was gone up 
who was sent, they asked if the priest might speak, 
but he wagged the tongue and would to try to 

Then spake Einar to his brother : " If he come 
round and the stump of the tongue heal up, it 
comes into my mind that he will speak." Then 
they caught the stump of the tongue with tongs 
and tugged it, and sheared off it twice, and a third 
time they cut at the roots of the tongue and left 
him lying there half dead. 

The housewife at the stead was poor, yet she 
went forthwith, and her daughter with her, and 

384 The Saga Library. XXV 

bore him home to the house in their cloaks ; 
sithence fared they to fetch a priest. And when 
he came there, he bound all his wounds, and they 
sought for him such easements as they might. 
The wounded priest lay thus in piteous plight ; 
he hoped ever for God's mercy and never doubted 
it ; and speechless he prayed to God in his thought 
and his grief-filled heart, all the more trustfully 
the sicker he was ; and he turned his mind to that 
merciful King Olaf the Holy, God's darling, and 
had heard erst much said of his glorious deeds, 
and therefore trowed all the swiftlier in him in his 
whole heart, for all help in his need. And as he 
lay there lamed and bereft of all strength, he 
greeted sorely and groaned, and prayed from a 
sore breast to the dearling King Olaf to avail 

Now after midnight the wounded priest fell 
asleep, and thought that he saw a noble-looking 
man come to him and speak to him : "111 art thou 
now played with, fellow Richard ; I see that now 
nought mickle art thou of might." And he thought 
he said that was true. Then this one said to 
him : " In need of mercy thou art." The priest 
said : " I am in need of the mercy of God Almighty 
and of King Olaf the Holy." He answered : " And 
thou shalt have it withal." Then he caught hold 
on the stump of the tongue and hauled it so hard 
that the priest smarted thereat. Then next he 
stroked his hand over his eyes, and his legs, and 
whatever of his limbs were sore. 

Then the priest asked who this was. And he 
looked towards the priest and said : " Olaf is here 

XXVI The Story oflngi, son ofHarald. 385 

from the north out of Thrandheim." And there- 
with he vanished away ; but the priest awoke all 
whole, and forthwith he fell to speak : " Blessed 
am I now," said he, " thanks to God and the holy 
King Olaf who hath healed me." Now grievously 
as he had been played with before, even so speedily 
was he healed of all that mishap, and it seemed to 
him as if he had never been sore nor sick ; the 
tongue whole, both eyes duly set in the head, the 
broken legs healed, all other hurts whole or free 
from pain, he in the very best of health. But for 
a token that his eyes had been stung out, was 
this, that on either eyelid there grew a white scar, 
that the glory of that noble king might be seen in 
the man that once had been put into so piteous a 


EYSTEIN and Sigurd had fallen out, 
whereas King Sigurd had slain a body- 
guard of King Eystein, Harald of the 
Wick, to wit, who had a house in Biorgvin, and 
another man withal, Priest John Tabard, a son of 
Biarni Sigurdson. For this sake they appointed 
a peace-meeting between them in winter in the 

They sat long a-talking together, they two 
alone; and thereafterwards it came out of their 
talk, that they should meet, all the brothers, the 
next summer in Biorgvin. That followed their 
talk, that they would that King Ingi had two 
v. c c 

386 The Saga Library. XXVII 

manors or three, and so much of other wealth that 
he might have thirty men with him ; for they gave 
out how they thought he had no health to be a 

Ingi and Gregory heard these tidings, and fared 
to Biorgvin with much folk. Sigurd came there 
a little later, and had with him folk clearly lesser. 
Now by then had Ingi and Sigurd been kings 
over Norway for nineteen winters. Eystein was 
later from the east out of the Wick than they were 
from the north. 

Then let King Ingi blow for a Thing in the 
Holme, and thither come King Sigurd and King 
I ngi and much folk. Gregory had two longships and 
upwards of nine tens of men, whom he found in all 
victuals ; he kept his house-carles better than other 
landed-men, in that he drank never in any guild 
that his house-carles drank not all with him. He 
went to the Thing in gold-reddened helm, and all 
his company was behelmed. 

So King Ingi stood up, and told men of what 
he had heard, how his brothers were minded to deal 
with him, and bade for help for him. And all the 
all-folk made good cheer to his speech, and said 
they would follow him. 


THEN King Sigurd stood up and spake, 
and said that it was unsooth what King 
Ingi laid at their door ; said that Gregory 
had made it up, and quoth that it would be no 

X XVI I The Story of Ingi, son ofHarald. 387 

long while, if he might have his will, till such a 
meeting of them should be, as he would therein 
make to stoop that gold-reddened helm ; and 
suchwise he closed his speech, that he quoth that 
they two should not be both a-ganging long. 
Gregory answered and said he was minded to 
think that he needed little to yearn for that, and 
gave out that he was all ready for it. 

A few days after a house-carle of Gregory was 
slain out of doors in the street, and it was a house- 
carle of King Sigurd's who slew him. Then would 
Gregory set upon King Sigurd and his, but King 
Ingi letted it and many other men. 

But whenas Ingirid, the mother of King Ingi, 
was going from evensong, she came there where 
Sigurd Gaud-axe lay slain ; he was of King Ingi's 
bodyguard, and was an old man, and had been in 
the service of many kings. But the slayers were 
two of King Sigurd's bodyguard, Hallward Gun- 
narson and Sigurd, son of Eystein Travail ; and 
men laid the rede on King Sigurd. Then went 
she straight to King Ingi, and told him, and said 
long would he be a little king if he would not 
bestir him, though his own guards were slain one 
after the other as swine. 

The king was wroth at her taunts, and while 
they were bickering together came Gregory walk- 
ing in, helmed and byrnied, and bade the king not 
be wroth, and said that she spake sooth : " I have 
come here to help thee up if thou wilt set on King 
Sigurd, and here is more than one hundred of 
men out in the garth of my house-carles helmed 
and byrnied, and we shall set upon them thence 

388 The Saga Library. XXVII 

whereas others deem it worst." But most letted 
this, and said that King Sigurd would have will to 
boot this unhap. 

But when Gregory saw that there would be 
hanging back, then spake he with King Ingi : 
" Suchwise are they lopping off thee, that a short 
while ago they slew me a house-carle, and now a 
courtman of thee ; but they will be longing to 
catch me or some other landed-man, such as them- 
seemeth would be the greatest lack for thee ; for 
they see that thou bestirrest thyself not ; and then 
to take thee from thy kingdom, after that thy 
friends be slain. Now whatso way thine other 
landed-men may will, I will not abide the neat's 
stroke ; and we two, Sigurd and I, shall deal 
together this night, whatsoever the bargain may 
be. But as for thee, thou art both ill-bestead by 
reason of thine ill health, and, moreover, I am 
minded to think thou hast but little will to up- 
hold thy friends. But now am I alboun to go 
hence to meet Sigurd, for here without is my 

King Ingi stood up and called for his clothes, 
and bade every man array himself who would 
follow him, and said that it would not avail to let 
him, for that he had backed water long enough, 
but now must there needs be a filing down to the 
steel betwixt them. 

XXVIII Story of Ingi } son of Harald. 389 


KING SIGURD drank in the garth of 
Sigrid Saeta, and made ready, but was 
minded that there would be no onset. 
But sithence they set upon the garth : King Ingi 
down from the Smiths'-Booths ; Arni, King's Step- 
father, west from Sand-Bridge; Aslak Erlendson 
from his own garth, but Gregory from the street, 
and it was deemed worst thence. 

Sigurd and his shot much from out the loft- 
windows, and brake them up ovens and hove the 
stones upon them. Gregory and his broke open 
the garth-gate, and there in the gate fell Einar, the 
son of Lax- Paul, out of King Sigurd's folk, and 
Hallward Gunnarson, who was shot in the loft, 
and no man grieved for him. They hewed the 
house, and King Sigurd's folk went from his hand 
and to peace. 

Then went Sigurd into a certain loft and would 
crave silence for him ; but he had a gold-reddened 
shield, and men knew him, and would not hearken 
him, but shot at him so that it was as looking into 
the snowdrift, and so there he might not be. But 
when his folk had gone from his hand, and men 
hewed the houses much, then went he out, and 
with him Thord Housewife, his courtman, a man 
out of Wick, and would thither whereas was King 
Ingi before them ; and Sigurd called to Ingi his 
brother, that he should give him peace. But they 
were straightway hewn both of them ; fell Thord 
Housewife much befamed. There fell many men, 

390 The Saga Library. XXIX 

though few I name, of Sigurd's folk, and Ingi's 
withal, and four men of the band of Gregory ; 
and they withal who were on neither side, and 
were in the way of shot either down on the bridges 
or out aboard the ships. They fought fourteen 
nights before the mass of John Baptist, and the 
day was Friday. King Sigurd was buried at 
Christ's Church the ancient, out on the Holme. 
King Ingi gave to Gregory the ship which King 
Sigurd had owned. 

But two nights or three after King Eystein 
came with thirty ships from the east, and had 
there Hakon, his brother's son, a-faring with him ; 
and he fared not to Biorgvin, but tarried at Floru- 
bights, and men went between and would appease 
them. But Gregory would that they should put 
off and set upon them, and said that it would be 
no better later, and that he would be captain 
therein : " But thou, king, fare not ; there is now 
no lack of folk." But many letted this ; wherefore 
the onset came not off. King Eystein went east 
into the Wick, and King Ingi north into Thrand- 
heim ; and they were now at peace, so to say, yet 
they themselves met not. 


GREGORY DAYSON went east a little 
later than King Eystein, and stayed up 
in Hofund at Bentberg, his stead. King 
Eystein was up at Oslo, and let his ships be 
dragged more than two sea-miles over ice, for 

XXX The Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 391 

ice lay much in the Wick. He fared up into 
Hofund, and was minded to lay hands on Gregory, 
but he was ware thereof, and fared away with 
ninety men up into Thelmark, and there north 
over the fell, and came down in Hardanger, and 
fared thence to Studla in Edni, whereas Erling 
Askew had a stead ; he was gone from home to 
Biorgvin, but Kristin his wife, the daughter of 
King Sigurd, was at home, and offered to Gregory 
whatever he would have thence, and there gat 
Gregory good cheer. He had thence a longship 
which Erling owned, and all that he needed. 
Gregory thanked her well, and said she had done 
after the fashion of a great lady, as might be looked 
for. But sithence they fared to Biorgvin and 
found Erling, and him-thought she had done well. 


THEREUPON Gregory Dayson went 
north to Cheaping, and came there before 
Yule. King Ingi was most fain of him, 
and bade him have of his whatsoever he would. 
King Eystein burned the stead of Gregory, and 
hewed down his beasts. But the ship-sheds which 
King Eystein the older had let do north in Cheap- 
ing, and which were the best of good things, were 
burned in the winter, together with good ships 
withal which King Ingi owned, and that deed 
was most ill-befriended, and the rede thereof was 
kenned to King Eystein and Philip, son of Gyrd, 
the fosterbrother of King Sigurd. 

392 The Saga Library. XXX 

The next summer fared King Ingi from the 
north, and became full many manned ; but King 
Eystein fared from the east, and he also gathered 
folk to him. They met in Seal-isles north of 
Lidandisness, and King Ingi was much the most 
manned ; they were then on the very point of 
coming to blows. But they made peace on the 
terms that Eystein should handsel to pay five-and- 
forty marks of gold ; and Ingi should have thereof 
thirty marks, whereas Eystein had had a hand in 
the ship-burning as well as the shed-burning ; but 
Philip should be outlaw, and all they withal who had 
been at the burning when the ships were burnt ; 
those men should also be outlaws who were proven 
to have given wounds to King Sigurd ; for King 
Eystein charged King Ingi with upholding those 
men. But Gregory should have fifteen marks for 
that which King Eystein had burnt up for him. 
King Eystein misliked this, and deemed it a peace 
under stress. King Ingi fared east into the 
Wick from the mote, and Eystein north into 

Sithence was King Ingi in the Wick, and King 
Eystein away in the north, and they met not ; 
and those words only fared between them which 
were nought for peace. Moreover, each let slay 
the other's friends, and there was no paying of the 
fine from Eystein's hand ; and each wyted the 
other that he held not to that which had been 
settled. King Ingi, he and Gregory, weaned 
much people away from King Eystein, Bard Stand- 
tail, the son of Bryniolf, to wit, and Simon Sheath, 
the son of Hallkel Hunch, and many other 

XXXI The Story of Ingi, son ofHarald. 393 

landed-men, as Haldor, the son of Bryniolf, and 
Jon, son of Hallkel. 


BUT when two winters were worn from the 
death of King Sigurd, the kings drew hosts 
together ; Ingi from the east of the land, 
and he gat eighty ships, and King Eystein from 
the north, and he fetched five-and-forty ships. 
Then had he the great Dragon which King Eystein, 
son of Magnus, had let do, and an all-fair host they 
had, and a mickle. King Ingi lay with his ships 
south by Most-isle, but King Eystein a little farther 
to the north in Grsening-sound. King Eystein 
sent south to King Ingi Aslak the Young, son of 
Jon, and Arni Stour, the son of Seabear, and they 
had one ship. But when the men of Ingi kenned 
them, they laid to them, and slew many of their 
men, and seized the ship with all there was on it, 
and all their baggage. But Aslak and Arni, and 
some men with them, got away upland, and fared 
to find King Eystein, and told him what welcome 
King Ingi had given them. So King Eystein 
held a husting, and told his men what unpeace 
Ingi and his would do them, and bade his host to 
follow him : " for we have an host so mickle and 
good, that I will flee nowhither away, if ye will 
follow me." But there was no cheer at his speak- 
ing. Hallkel Hunch was there, but both his sons, 
Simon and Jon, were with King Ingi. So Hallkel 
answered, so that a very many heard : " Let thy 


394 The Saga Library. XXXII 

gold-chests follow thee now, and let them ward thy 


THE night after they rowed away in many 
ships stealthily, some into fellowship with 
King Ingi, some to Biorgvin, some into 
the Firths. But in the morning, when it was light, 
there was the king left with but ten ships. Then 
he left behind there the great Dragon, whereas it 
was heavy under oars, and more of the ships 
withal ; and they hewed the Dragon much, and 
withal their ale- vats they hewed down, and whatso- 
ever they might not bring away with them they 
spoilt. King Eystein went aboard the ship of 
Eindrid, the son of Jon Suetneb, and they fared 
north and in to Sogn, and thence by overland ways 
east into Wick. 

King Ingi took the ships and fared by the 
seaway east into Wick. But on the eastern 
shore of the Fold there was King Eystein, and 
had wellnigh twelve hundreds of men. Then 
saw they the ship-host of King Ingi, and deemed 
they had not folk enough thereto, and so ran 
away into the wood. They fled each one his 
own way, so that the king was left with but one 

King Ingi and his were ware of the farings of 
King Eystein, and withal that he was but a few, 
and they fared to seek him. Simon Sheath 
hit upon him as he went from out of a certain 

XXXII Story of Ingi, son of Harald. 395 

thicket against them. Simon greeted him : " Hail, 
loafward ! " said he. The king answered : " I wot 
not but that thou deemest thyself now my loaf- 
ward," said he. " That is now as it may turn out," 
said Simon. 

The king prayed him to get him off, saying it 
behoved him, " for it has long been well between 
us, though now it be another way." Simon said 
that, at this time, that would come to nought. 
The king prayed he might behearken mass first, 
and that was done. Thereupon he lay adown grovel- 
ling, and stretched his arms out from him, and 
prayed to hew him cross-ways between his 
shoulders, and said that then it would be proven, 
whether he would thole iron or not, as they had 
said, those fellows of King Ingi. Simon spake 
to him who should hew him, and bade him fall to, 
and quoth that the king had crept about the ling 
there overlong. 

Then was he hewn, and was deemed to have 
done valiantly. His body was brought to Force, 
but his corpse was waked to the south of the 
church beneath the brent. 

King Eystein was laid in earth at Force Church, 
and his lying place is in the middle of the floor, 
and a rug is spread thereover, and men call him 
holy. There, where he was hewed, and his blood 
came on the earth, sprang up a well, and another 
there, under the brent, where his body was waked. 
From either water many men deem they have got 

It is the saying of the Wick-folk that many 
miracles befell at the tomb of King Eystein ere his 

396 The Saga Library. XXXII 

unfriends cast on his tomb the broth of a sodden 

Simon Sheath gat the most unthank for this 
deed ; and that was the talk of all the commonalty. 
But some said that, when King Eystein was taken, 
Simon sent a man to meet King Ingi, and that 
the king bade Eystein not to come in his eyesight. 
So has King Sverrir let write it, but Einar, son 
of Skuli, says thus : 

Will the much-evil Simon 
The Sheath, the wont to murder, 
The king's bewrayer, hereafter 
Be saved despite of such deeds ? 




HAKON, the son of King Sigurd, was 
taken for head of the flock which had 
erst followed King Eystein, and the 
flockmen gave him the king's name. Then was he 
of ten winters. There were then with him these : 
Sigurd, the son of Hall ward Freeholder of Reyr, 
and Andreas and Onund, the sons of Simon, and 
fosterbrothers of Hakon, and many other chief- 
tains and friends of Kings Eystein and Sigurd. 
They fared first up into Gautland. King Ingi cast 
his owning over all that which they had in Norway, 
and made them outlaws. King Ingi fared north 
into Wick and dwelt there, but whiles north in the 
land. Gregory sat at King's Rock in the way of 
the peril, and warded the land there. 


N" EXT summer Hakon and his came down 
from Gautland, and came to King's 
Rock, and had a right mickle host and 
fair. Gregory was as then in the town, and called 

400 The Saga Library . II 

together a thronged Thing of bonders and by- 
men, and craved aid of them. He deemed the 
men gave little cheer to this, and gave out that he 
trusted them ill. So he fared away with two ships 
into the Wick, and was all unglad. He was 
minded to go and meet King Ingi, for he had 
heard that King Ingi fared with a mickle host 
from the north round the Wick. But when Gregory 
was gone but a short way towards the north he 
came upon Simon Sheath and Haldor, the son of 
Bryniolf, and Gyrd, the son of Amundi, King Ingi's 
fosterbrother. Gregory was much fain of them, 
and he turned back and all they together, and 
had eleven ships. But when they rowed in to 
King's Rock, Hakon and his were holding a Thing 
outside the town, and saw their faring. Then said 
Sigurd of Reyr : " Now is Gregory fey, since he 
fareth into our hands with few folk." Gregory laid 
to land right before the town, and would abide 
King Ingi, for he was to be looked for ; yet he 
came not. King Hakon got ready in the town, 
and let Thorliot Brushskull be at the head of that 
host which was aboard the merchant ships that 
floated off the town. He was a viking and a 
robber. But Hakon and Sigurd and the main 
host was in the town, and drew up on the bridges. 
All men there had gone under Hakon. 

Ill Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 401 


GREGORY and his rowed up along the 
river, and let the ships drift down the 
stream upon Thorliot and his. For a 
while they shot at each other, until Thorliot sprang 
overboard and his fellows, and some were slain, 
but othersome came aland. Then Gregory and 
his rowed to the bridges, and straightway Gregory 
let shoot up bridges from his ship under the feet 
of Hakon's men. Then fell the man who bore 
his banner, whom he told off for going up. Then 
Gregory bade Hall, the son of Audun, the son of 
Hall, to take up the banner, and he did so, and 
carried the banner up on to the bridges ; but 
Gregory went up straightway after him, and 
shoved forth a shield over his head. But forth- 
with, when Gregory came upon the bridges and 
Hakon's men knew him, they fell back, and gave 
way on either side. But when more of the host 
came up from the ships, Gregory and his men 
sought forward, and Hakon's men at first shrank 
aback, and then ran away up into the town. But 
Gregory and his men followed them up, and drave 
them twice out of the town, and slew many. No 
faring was more valiant than this, by the speech of 
men, which Gregory fared, whereas Hakon had 
more than forty hundreds of men, and Gregory 
not full four hundreds. 

Then spake Gregory to Hall, son of Audun, 
after the battle : " Many men do I find lither in 
onset than you, Icelanders, for ye are more unwont 
v. D D 

402 The Saga Library. IV 

than we Norway men, but no men do I find more 
weapon-bold than ye be." 

Then a little later King Ingi came in, and let 
slay many men who had taken to Hakon ; some he 
let pay fines, but for some he burned the steads, 
but othersome he drove out of the land, and did 
to them much ill. Hakon fled away up into Gaut- 
land. But the next winter he went overland north 
into Thrandheim, and came there before Easter, 
and the Thrand-folk took him for king to his 
father's heritage, one-third of Norway to wit, 
against King Ingi. Ingi and Gregory were in the 
Wick, and Gregory would fare north and set upon 
them, but many letted it, and that winter it came 
to nought. 


HAKON fared from the north in the spring, 
and had wellnigh thirty ships. The 
Wick-folk out of Hakon's host fared 
before with eight ships, and harried in both Meres. 
No man called to mind that there had ever been 
any harrying between the two Cheapings. Jon, 
son of Hallkel Hunch, gathered a bonder-host and 
set upon them, and took Kolbein the Woode, and 
slew every man's child aboard his ship. Then he 
went in search of the others, and came upon them 
with their seven ships, and they fought ; but Hallkel 
his father did not go to meet him as had been 
bespoken between them. There fell a many of 
good bonders, and he was wounded himself. 

V The Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 403 

Hakon fared south to Biorgvin with his band ; 
and when they came to Stiornvelta, they heard 
that King Ingi had already come from the east a 
few nights before, he and Gregory, to Biorgvin ; 
so they durst not hold on thitherward. They 
sailed past Biorgvin by the outer way, and came 
upon some of King Ingi's following on three ships 
which had been belated from the east. There was 
Gyrd, the son of Amundi, King Ingi's foster- 
brother; he had for wife Gyrid, the sister of 
Gregory ; another was Gyrd the Lawman, son of 
Gunnhild ; the third was Howard Butterbread. 
Hakon let slay Gyrd, the son of Amundi, as well 
as Howard Butterbread ; but Gyrd the Law- 
man he had with him, and fared east into the 


BUT when King Ingi heard that, he went 
east after them, and they met east in the 
Elf. King Ingi put into the river up along 
the northernmost branch, and made spying before 
him about Hakon and his. But King Ingi laid to 
land out by Hising, and there abode the spies. 
But when they came back they went to the king, 
and said they had seen King Hakon's host and all 
the arrayal thereof; said that they were lying up 
by the stakes, and had moored their sterns to the 
stakes ; " they have two east-faring keels, and have 
laid them outermost of all the ships ; on these 
keels are masthead castles, and castles withal in 
the prow of both." 

404 The Saga Library. V 

But when the king heard that, what arrayal they 
had, he let blow all his host to a husting. But 
when the Thing was called and set, then sought 
the king rede of his host, and calls thereto on 
Gregory Dayson and Erling Askew, his brother- 
in-law, and other landed-men and captains of ships, 
and tells them all the arrayal of Hakon's men. 
Gregory answered first, and made his will clear, 
and said : " The meeting of Hakon and me has 
befallen sundry times, and they have oftenest had 
the more host, and yet had the lesser part in our 
dealings. But now have we by far the greater 
host, and it will now seem likely to those who 
lately have missed noble kinsmen from them, that 
here will vengeance bear up well, whereas they 
have long been drifting about before us this 
summer ; and we have often spoken that, if they 
would but abide us, as now it is said they have 
done, then would we venture on a meeting with 
them. Now that have I to say of my mind, that 
I will pitch the battle against them, if that be not 
against the king's will ; for that I am yet minded 
to think, as hath been before, that they will now 
have to give way if we set upon them keenly, and 
I shall take upon me the onset there where other 
men deem it hardest." 

At the word of Gregory was mickle cheer, and 
all men gave out they were ready to give battle to 
Hakon and his. Then all the ships were rowed 
up along the river until each side saw the other ; 
then King Ingi and his sidled out of the river- 
stream up under the island. Then the king had 
talk with all his captains, and bade them array for 

VI The Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 405 

onset, and charged Erling Askew therewith, say- 
ing, as was sooth, that there was not a wiser man 
nor keener in battle in that host, though some 
might be more heady than he. And the king 
turned his speech to yet more landed-men, and 
named some by name ; but so closed he his speech 
that he bade each to set forth what he saw would 
avail in rede, and after that to be all at one. 


ERLING ASKEW answered the speech 
of the king : " Bound am I, O king, not 
to be silent at thy speech, and if thou wilt 
wot what my counsel will be, then shall I let thee 
hear it. The plan which now has been set is 
straight contrary to my mind, for I call this a sheer 
peril to fight with them as things now stand, though 
we have an host mickle and fair, if we shall give 
them the onfall, and row against this river-stream ; 
whereas there are three men in each half- room, there 
will be one to row, and the second to shield him : 
what, then, beyond one-third of our host is left for 
doing the fighting ? It seems to me unfightful will 
they do in the battle who are at the oars, and turn 
their backs toward our unfriends. Give me leisure 
for taking counsel, but I promise in return that I shall 
find a rede, before three days be worn, whereby 
easier we may bring about an onset on them." 

And in Erling's speech it was much found that 
he letted the onset ; but no less there were many 
who egged the onset, and said that Hakon and his 

406 The Saga Library. VII 

would now run ashore once again as before, " and 
so we get nothing of them," they said ; " but now 
they have but a scanty company, and we have all 
their rede in our hand." Gregory spake but few 
words on the matter, but made such taunt as seemed 
to say that Erling's chief reason went much hereto 
in letting the onset, that he would undo the rede 
which Gregory had set forth, rather than that he 
knew how to see more clearly through this matter 
than all others. 


r w ^HEN King Ingi spake to Erling: "Brother- 
in-law," said he, " now will we follow out 


thy counsel as to how the onset shall be 
arrayed ; but since the captains will rather have it 
so, we shall fall upon them even to-day." Then 
said Erling : " All cutters and light craft shall row 
out round the island, and then up the eastern out- 
let, and thus come down upon them, and try to 
loose them from the stakes ; but then we shall row 
in upon them in the big ships, and it is not known, 
till it be tried, whether they (the captains) shall 
make by as much a better onset than I as they be 
wilder for it." 

This rede was well-liking to all. A certain ness 
stretched out between the host of King Ingi and 
Hakon, and neither saw the other's ships. But 
when the host of the cutters came rowing down 
the river, that saw Hakon and his folk. But 
before they had been at a talking for doing their 

VII Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 407 

rede ; some guessed that King Ingi and his would 
fall on, but many were minded to think that they 
would not brave it, seeing that the onfall seemed 
to be much tarried, but they trusted well in their 
arrayal and their host. In their flock there were 
many great men ; there was Sigurd of Reyr, and 
the two sons of Simon ; there, too, was Nicolas, 
the son of Skialdvor, and Eindrid, the son of Jon 
Suetneb, who was the most renowned and best 
befriended man in the folklands of Thrandheim ; 
and many other landed-men and captains of com- 
panies were there. Now, when they saw that the 
men of Ingi came rowing down along the river 
with many ships, Hakon and his thought that 
Ingi with his host was minded to flee, and so 
hewed the moorings of their vessels and fell to 
their oars, and rowed after them, and would drive 
them. The ships drove fast down before the 
stream, and as they bore down along the river past 
the ness which before was betwixt them, they saw 
that the main host of Ingi lay down by the island 
of Hising. Ingi's fellows saw where fared the 
ships of Hakon, and deemed that they would 
fall on. So there arose a great bustle and clatter 
of weapons and eggings-on, and therewithal they 
broke out into the war-whoop. But thereat Hakon 
and his turned their ships towards the northern 
shore, where there was a certain sheltering creek, 
and thus they gat out of the stream. There they 
arrayed them and bore stern-moorings ashore, and 
turned outwards the prows of all their ships, and 
lashed all the ships together, and let the east- 
faring hulks lie out away from the other ships, one 

The Saga Library. VIII 

up above, the other nether, and lashed them to the 
longships. But in the midst of the fleet lay the 
king's ship, and next to it Sigurd's ship, and on 
the other board of the king's ship lay Nicolas, and 
next to him Eindrid, the son of Jon ; all the smaller 
ships lay outwarder. They had loaded wellnigh 
all their ships with stones and weapons. 


SIGURD of Reyr spoke and said : " It is 
now to be looked for, that the meeting 
between us and King Ingi, which has been 
long promised this summer, will now come to 
pass. Now, we have been making ready for it 
much long ; and many of our fellows have blustered 
greatly that they would not flee nor falter before 
King Ingi or Gregory, and it is now well to call 
such words to mind. But we may with less 
assurance speak hereof, whereas erst we have got 
somewhat toothsore in our dealings, for it is so, 
even as everyone hath heard, that much oft we 
have fared floundering before them. None the 
less we are now bound to meet them at our 
manliest, and to withstand them at our fastest ; for 
only that way out have we for getting of the victory. 
Now, although we have an host somewhat fewer 
than they, yet may weird rule it which shall have 
the gain; and that is the best hope in our case, 
that God wotteth that we have right on our side. 
Ingi has already hewn down his two brethren, and 
no man is so blind as not to see what father-boot- 

VIII Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 409 

ing is minded for King Hakon, to wit, to hew him 
down as his other kinsmen, and that will be seen 
to-day. From the beginning Hakon craved no 
more of Norway than the Ridding his father had 
had, and that was gainsaid him ; but in my esteem 
Hakon hath a better title to inheritance after 
Eystein, his father's brother, than Ingi or Simon 
Sheath or any others of the men who reft King 
Eystein of his life. Many a one would so look 
to it, who would save his soul, and had such-like 
big ill-deeds on his hands as has Ingi, that he 
would not dare before God to be called by a 
king's name ; and that I wonder, that God tholeth 
of him that overboldness ; and that will be God's 
will, that we hurl him down. Fight we boldly 
then, for God will give us the victory ; but if we 
fall, God will reward us with manifold joy therefor, 
if he lend power to evil men to overcome us. Let 
men fare steadily, and falter not, if battle befall. 
Let each one heed himself and those of his com- 
pany, and God all of us." 

Good cheer was given to the speech of Sigurd, 
and all well behight to do their best. King Hakon 
went aboard one of the east-faring hulks, and there 
was set a shieldburg about him, but his banner 
was on the longship whereon he had been hitherto 

410 The Saga Library. IX 


NOW we have to tell of the men of King 
Ingi ; how, when they saw that those of 
Hakon arrayed them for battle, and but 
the river was between them, they sent a swift- 
faring craft out after their host which had rowed 
away, bidding them to turn back, and the king 
with the rest of his host abode them and arrayed 
them for the onset. Spake the captains and told 
to the host their forecast : firstly, which of the 
ships should lie nearest, and then where each one 
should fall on. 

Gregory said : " We have a great host and a 
goodly. Now it is my counsel that thou, king, be 
not in the onset, for then is all heeded when thou art 
heeded, and none wotteth where a misshot arrow 
may stray. They have such array that from out of 
the masthead castles will be cast stones and shot, and 
that is but little less risk to them who be farther. 
They have got no more folk than what is handy 
for us landed-men to hold battle withal. I shall 
lay my ship against that ship of theirs which is 
most, and I ween still that it will be but a short 
trial to fight with them ; so oftest it has been at 
our meetings, although another way have been 
the odds than now." 

'Twas well-liking to all, what Gregory spake ; 
that the king should not himself be in the battle. 

Then spake Erling Askew : " That rede will I 
follow, that thou, king, fare not into the battle. 
So meseemeth of their arrayal that we must needs 

IX The Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 411 

pay good heed, if we get not great man-tyne of 
them ; and meseemeth it best to bind up all 
safe. As to the rede which we had earlier in 
the day, many spake against that which I reded, 
and said that I had no will to fight ; but now 
meseems things have turned about much handier 
for us, seeing that they are already away from 
the stakes. And now things have so come 
about, that nought shall I let giving battle ; for 
I see that, which all men wot, how great the 
need is to scatter this flock of evil-doers, which 
has fared about all the land with robbery and 
rifling ; for men thereafter might dwell in the land 
in peace, and serve one only king, and that such a 
good and rightwise one as is King Ingi, who has 
already long enough had toil and trouble from the 
insolence and iniquity of his kinsmen, and been 
the breast before all the all-folk, and laid himself 
into manifold risk in giving peace to the land." 

Many things Erling spake, and deftly, and yet 
more head-men besides, and it all came down to 
one place, that they all egged the onset. They 
abode the gathering of all their host. King Ingi 
then had the Beechboard, and he yielded to the 
prayer of his friends, that he did not go into the 
battle, but lay behind by the island. 

4 1 2 The Saga Library. X 


N" OW when the host was ready they fall to 
the on-rowing, and both sides set up the 
war-whoop ; Ingi's men lashed not their 
ships together, and fared on close-serried, for they 
had to row right athwart the stream, and it much 
swept the big ships. Erling Askew set upon the 
.ship of King Hakon, and shoved his prow in 
betwixt it and Sigurd's ship, and then befell the 
battle. But the ship of Gregory was swept 
aground, and heeled over much, so at first they 
gat them not into the onset. And when Hakon's 
men saw this, they laid-to on them, and fell on, but 
Gregory's ship lay before them. Then laid thereto 
Ivar, the son of Hakon Maw, and the poops of 
both ships drifted together. Ivar hooked a grapnel 
round Gregory where he was slenderest, and 
hauled him towards him, and Gregory swerved 
out towards the board, and the grapnel swept up 
along the flank of him, and Ivar was on the very 
point of hooking him overboard. Gregory was 
but little hurt, whereas he had a plate-byrny. Ivar 
called to him and said that he was thick-boarded. 
Gregory answered, and said that Ivar was so doing 
with him that needful was that, with nought to spare. 
Then things had come to such a pass that 
Gregory and his were at point to go overboard, 
till Aslak the Young got an anchor aboard their 
ship, and drew them off the ground. Then Gregory 
set on Ivar's ship, and they had to do together a 
long while ; and Gregory's ship was the bigger and 

X I The Story ofHakon Shoulder-Broad. 413 

more manned. Fell much folk on Ivar's ship, but 
some leapt overboard. Ivar was much hurt, so 
that he was not fightworthy. But when his ship 
was ridded, Gregory let flit him aland, and got him 
off; and ever after they were friends. 


BUT when King Ingi and his fellows saw 
that Gregory was aground, the king cried 
on his men to row thereto. He said : " It 
was the unwisest rede that we should lie behind 
here, and our friends fare to battle ; we have that 
ship which is the most and best manned of the 
whole host; and now I see that Gregory needeth 
folk, that man whom I have best to reward. So lay 
we into battle at our hardest, and that is Tightest 
that I be in the battle, for I will have the victory 
for mine own if it is to be gained. But even if I 
knew beforehand that our men would have the foil, 
yet would it be the one thing due for us to be there 
whereas the other men of ours should be ; for I 
may have no more furtherance, if I miss those 
men who are my breast, and are the briskest, 
and long have been the foremen for me and my 

Then bade he set up the banners, and they did 
so, and rowed over the river. Then was the battle 
at its wildest, and the king gat no room for laying 
on, so thronged lay the ships before him. Then 
laid they under the east-faring hulk, and there 
were borne down on them spears and pal-staves 

414 The Saga Library. XI 

and stones so great that nought might hold out 
against them, and they could not abide there. 
But when the host saw it, that the king was come 
there, they ridded a place for him, and then he 
laid aboard the ship of Eindrid Jonson. Then 
the men of Hakon left the small ships and went 
up on to the hulks, but some went aland. 

Erling Askew and his men had a hard onset. 
He was in the fore-room, and called on his fore- 
castle men, and bade them go up on to the king's 
ship. They answered that was not an easy matter, 
for there were iron-bound timbers before them. 
Then Erling went forth into the prow, and tarried 
there but a little while or ever they boarded the 
king's ship and ridded that ship. Then took all 
the host to flee ; and after that many of them leapt 
into the deep, and much folk fled away withal, but 
all the throng gat them aland. Even as says Einar, 
the son of Skuli : 

In the deep fell men a many 
From the gory bows of sea-steeds; 
Enough meat gat the troll's steed, 
Before the stream drave corpses. 
Elf bitter-cold was reddened 
With the hot flood of wounding ; 
Warm ale of wolf with water 
Fell into the belt of Kormt-isle. 

A many ships prow-bloody 
In the swift mouth of river 
Drave empty. There the war-host 
Was swaying of the elm-bow. 
'Gainst dank helms flew the red-steel 
Ere fled the host of captains 
Aground from sea-deer. Scant grew 
The Hakon's host in shield-roar. 

XI The Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 415 

Einar wrought on Gregory, the son of Day, a 
flock which is called the Elf-staves. 

King Ingi gave peace to Nicolas, the son of 
Skialdvor, when his ship was ridded, and then he 
went unto King Ingi, and was with him sithence 
whiles he lived. Eindrid, the son of Jon, when 
his ship was cleared, leapt over into King Ingi's 
ship and craved life and limb. The king was of 
will to give him life, but the son of Howard Butter- 
bread ran to him and hewed him his bane-blow, 
and that work was much blamed ; but he said 
that Eindrid had reded the slaying of his father, 
Howard. Eindrid was much bewailed, yet most 
of all within the lands of Thrandheim. There fell a 
many of Hakon's host, but no more captains. Few 
men fell out of the host of King Ingi, but many 
were wounded. 

Hakon fled up inland, but Ingi fared north into 
the Wick with his host, and was in the Wick the 
winter over, and Gregory withal. 

But when from this fight came to Biorgvin those 
men of King Ingi, Bergliot and his brethren, the 
sons of Ivar of Elda, they slew Nicolas Beard, a 
rent-master that had been, and thereupon went 
home north to Thrandheim. King Hakon carne 
north before Yule, but Sigurd was whiles at home 
at Reyr. Gregory had taken pledge of King Ingi 
for him, that he should have all his possessions ; for 
they were close akin, Sigurd and Gregory. King 
Hakon was in Cheaping through the Yule ; and 
one evening early in the Yuletide his men got to 
blows in the Court Hall, and eight men came by 
their death, and many were wounded. But after 

4 1 6 The Saga L ibrary. XII 

the eighth day of Yule there fared into Elda these 
fellows of Hakon, Alf the Ruffian, the son of Ottar 
Brightling, and wellnigh eighty men ; and they 
came there unawares in early night, when the 
others were drunk, and set fire to the house, and 
they went out and fought for life. But there fell 
Bergliot Ivarson and Ogmund, his brother, and 
a very many of men ; wellnigh thirty had there 
been there within. 

That winter there died in Cheaping-north 
Andreas, the son of Simon, the fosterbrother of 
King Hakon, and was sore bewailed. 

Erling Askew and the men of King Ingi, they 
who were in Biorgvin, gave out that they would 
fare north now or then that winter to take Hakon, 
but it came to nought. Gregory sent such words 
from the east from King's Rock, as that if he sat 
as nigh as was Erling and his, he would not sit 
quiet in Biorgvin if Hakon were letting slay the 
friends of King Ingi in Thrandheim and their 
fellows in law. 


KING INGI and Gregory fared in spring 
from the east unto Biorgvin. But as 
soon as Hakon and Sigurd heard that 
King Ingi was fared from the Wick they went 
east by the overland ways into the Wick. 

Now whenas King Ingi and his came to 
Biorgvin, there arose dissension between Hal dor 

XII Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 417 

Bryniolfson and Biorn Nicolasson. A house-carle 
of Biorn, when they met down on the bridges, 
asked why the other was so pale, but he said he 
had been let blood. " I would not by blood-letting 
be so bleak of face as thou art." " But methinks," 
quoth the other, " that thou wouldst be likely to 
take it much worse and more cowardly." Now the 
beginning was no more than so. Then waxed 
word on word until they strove, and thereupon 
fell to fighting. Then it was told to Haldor 
Bryniolfson that his house-carle had been wounded 
on the bridges. But Haldor was drinking thereby 
in the garth, and went thither. But erst were 
come the house-carles of Biorn, and Haldor deemed 
they had parted in an uneven manner ; so they 
shoved the house-carles of Biorn, and knocked 
them about. Then was it told to Biorn Buck 
that the Wick-wights were beating his house- 
carles down on the bridges. Then Biorn and his 
took their weapons and went thither, and would 
avenge their men ; then was wounding betwixt 
them. Then was told Gregory that Haldor his 
kinsman-in-law needed help, and that his house- 
carles were being hewed down out in the open 
street. Then Gregory and his ran to their byrnies 
and fared thereto. That heard Erling Askew 
that Biorn, his sister's son, was fighting with 
Haldor and Gregory on the bridges up town, and 
that he needed help. So he went thither much 
manned, and bade men lend him help, saying it 
were a shame to men " if one Wick-man is to walk 
over us here in our kin-hay ; for that would be 
brought up against us for ever and ever." There 
v, E E 

418 The Saga Library. XII 

fell fourteen men, and nine had their bane straight- 
way, but five died from wounds sithence ; but 
many men were hurt. 

Then the word came to King Ingi that they 
were fighting up town on the bridges, Gregory and 
Erling. So he went thither and would part them, 
but might bring nothing about, so mad as were 
both sides. 

Then Gregory called out to King Ingi, and 
bade him keep aloof, saying he might bring 
nothing about as matters then stood, and said that 
were the greatest scathe if anything should befall 
him ; " whereas none may wot where he may be, 
who would not spare himself that mishap if he but 
deemed it might bechance him." Then the king 
fared away. 

Now when the most turmoil dried up, Gregory 
and his went up to Nicolas church, and Erling 
and his after them, and then they called out on 
each other. 

Then came again King Ingi, and appeased 
them, and then both sides would that he alone 
should do the award between them. Then heard 
they that Hakon was in the Wick, and King Ingi 
and Gregory went east, and had very many ships. 
But when they came east, Hakon and his fled 
away, and there was no battle. So King Ingi 
went up to Oslo, but Gregory was at King's Rock. 

XIII Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 419 



GREGORY heard a little later of the 
whereabouts of King Hakon and his, that 
they were in there where is hight Saur- 
Byes, which lieth up against the wild-wood. He 
fared thither, and came a-night-time, and thought 
that Hakon and Sigurd would be at the bigger of 
the two steads, and there they set fire to the 
houses. But Hakon and his were at the lesser 
stead, and came over when they saw the fire, and 
would lend help to the others. There fell Munan, 
the son of Ali the Un-Skauned, and brother to 
King Sigurd, the father of Hakon. Gregory and 
his slew him when he would to come to the aid of 
those who were burnt within. But they went out, 
and a many of men were slain there. Asbiorn 
Mare gat away from the stead ; he was the greatest 
viking, and was wounded. A certain bonder met 
him, and Asbiorn prayed the bonder to let him off, 
and said he would pay him money therefor. The 
bonder said he would do that which was more to 
his mind ; said he had often gone in fear of him ; so 
he hewed him his bane-blow. Hakon and Sigurd 
got away, but much of their folk was slain. 
Thereafter Gregory went east to King's Rock. 

A little later Hakon and Sigurd went to the 
manor of Haldor, son of Bryniolf of Vettland, and 
set fire to the houses and burnt them. Haldor went 
out of doors, and was hewen forthwith, and his 
house-carles with him ; and there were slain nigh 
twenty men in all. Sigrid, his wife, was the sister 

420 The Saga Library. XIV 

of Gregory, and her they let go away to the wood 
in night-sark alone. There they took Amundi, 
the son of Gyrd Amimdison, and of Gyrid, the 
daughter of Day ; he was a sister's son of Gregory, 
and they brought him away with them. He was 
then of five winters. 


GREGORY heard these tidings and deemed 
them great, and he sought carefully into 
their whereabouts. He went out of King's 
Rock in the latter part of the Yule-tide with much 
folk, and they came to Force on the thirteenth 
day of Yule. He stayed there for the night, and 
went to matins there on the last day of Yule, and 
the gospel was read to him thereafter ; this was on 
a bath-day. And when Gregory and his saw the 
host of Hakon, they deemed Hakon's folk much 
less than their own. A certain river there was 
between them where they met, and which hight 
Befia; the ice was ill on the river, whereas the flood- 
tide went up from without under the ice. Hakon 
and his had cut wakes on the river, and had 
shovelled snow thereon ; so nothing might be seen 

When Gregory came to the river he said that 
himseemed that the ice was ill to cross, and said 
that it were rede to fare to a bridge which was a 
little higher up across the river. The bonder- 
host answered and said that they wotted not what 
was the matter, that he should not dare to seek to 

XIV Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 421 

them across the ice, no more of folk being against 
them ; they would have it that the ice was good 
enough, and said they deemed he was luck- 

Gregory answers, and says that seldom had 
there been need of taunting him much for lack of 
heart, and said that should not be needed even now ; 
and he bade them follow him well, and not stand 
on land, if he go out upon the ice ; and said it was 
their rede to cross an evil ice, and that therefore 
he was uneager. " But I will not sit under your 
taunts," said he, and bade bear forth his banner. 
So he went out on to the ice with his folk ; but 
straightway whenas the bonder company found the 
ice was bad, then turned aback the host of them. 
Gregory sank through the ice, yet not much ; so he 
bade his men be wary, but no more went after him 
than about twenty men, but the rest of the folk 
turned back. 

A man in Hakon's flock shot an arrow to him, 
and smote him under the throat of him. There 
fell Gregory, and ten men with him, and there 
now is the close of his lifetime. It is all folk's say, 
that he was the most chieftain of the landed-men 
of Norway in the memory of the men who then 
were alive, and best he was to us Icelanders since 
King Eystein the older died. The body of Gregory- 
was flitted up into Hofund, and was buried at 
Gimsey at the nuns' seat there. Then was Baugeid, 
the sister of Gregory, abbess there. 

422 The Saga Library. XV 


TWO king's stewards fared with the tidings 
to tell King Ingi thereof up at Oslo ; and 
when they came, they craved speech of 
the king. He asked what tidings they told. 
" The fall of Gregory Dayson," said they. " How 
came about such ill-hap ? " said the king. They 
told him. The king answered : " Then they ruled 
there who knew the worse." 

So it is said, that he took this so ill that he 
wept like a child. But when that passed off he 
said this : " I willed to fare find Gregory straight- 
way, when I heard of the slaying of Haldor, for I 
deemed I knew well enough that Gregory would 
not sit so long that he would not turn to avenging 
him ; but this folk went on as if nothing was so 
needful as this Yule-drinking, and that might in 
no wise be given up. Now I know for sure that if 
I had been there, things would have gone forward 
more redefully, or we two else, I and Gregory, 
would both have fared to one guesting. But there 
is gone that man who has been the best to me, 
and has most chiefly held the land in my hands ; 
and hitherto it has been my thought that short 
while would be between us. Now I shall under- 
take alone to go meet Hakon and his, and then it 
shall be either that I shall have my bane, or else 
I shall stride over Hakon. But none the more 
avenged is such a man as was Gregory, though 
they all come for him." 

A man answered and said, that he would need 

XVI Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 423 

to search but little for them, and said they were 
minded thitherward to find him. Kristin was 
there in Oslo, the daughter of King Sigurd, and 
brother's daughter of King Ingi. The king heard 
that she was minded to fare away from the town, 
and sent word to her and asked why she would 
away from the town. But she said she thought it 
was so full of uproar, and that it was no abiding- 
place for women. The king prayed she should 
not fare away; "for if we gain the day, as I am 
minded, thou wilt then be well holden here ; but 
if I fall, my friends will not get to dight my body, 
yet shalt thou beseech that it be granted thee to lay 
out the dead ; and so mayst thou best reward me 
that I have been well with thee." 


IN the evening of Blaise-mass news came to 
King Ingi that Hakon was to be looked for 
at the town. Then King Ingi let blow the 
host up out of the town, and let array it, and the 
tally thereof was wellnigh forty hundreds of men. 
The king let the rank be long, and not more than 
five deep. 

Then spake men to King Ingi that he should 
not be in the fight, for on him, they said, there 
lay so much ; " so let Worm, thy brother, be lord 
over tho- host." The king answers : " This I am 
minded to think, that if Gregory were alive here 
now, and I were fallen, and mine avenging were 
toward, that he would not be lying in hiding- 
places, but would be in the battle himself. Now 

424 The Saga Library. 

though I be in a worse plight than was he, for my 
infirmity's sake, yet I shall not be worse willed 
towards him, and it is not to be looked for that I be 
not in the battle." 

So men say, that Gunnhild, whom Simon had 
had to wife, the foster-mother of Hakon, let Sit 
Out for victory to Hakon ; but It showed out 
that they should fight with King Ingi by night, 
and never by day, and said that that would do. 
But Thordis Skeggja is named the woman of 
whom is said that she Sat Out, but the sooth 
thereof I wot not. 

Simon Sheath had gone into the town and laid 
him down to sleep, and he awoke with the war- 

But as the night wore, news came to King Ingi, 
and he was told that Hakon and his were coming 
from without on to the ice, but ice lay all the way 
from the town out to Headisle. 


THEN went King Ingi with his host out 
on to the ice, arfd set his array before the 
town. Simon Sheath was in the arm 
which looked towards Thralls' Berg ; but in that 
arm, which was in past Nuns' Seat, was Gudrod, 
King of the South-isles, the son of Olaf Butter- 
bread, and Jon, the son of Svein, the son of 
Bergthor Buck. 

But when Hakon and his came upon the array 
of King Ingi, either side whooped the war-whoop. 

XVII Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 425 

Gudrod and Jon beckoned to Hakon and his 
men to let them know where they stood before 
them. And therewith Hakon's men turned thither, 
but Gudrod and his fled straightway, and that host 
might have been wellnigh fifteen hundreds of men. 
But Jon and a great company with him ran into 
the host of Hakon, and fought on their side. This 
was told to King Ingi, and he answered thus : 
" Wide apart have my friends been ; never had 
Gregory so fared while he lived." 

Then spake men and bade the king that they 
should speedily shove a horse under him, and 
that he should ride out of the battle and up into 
Raumrealm ; " for there wilt thou get plenteous 
help, even to-day." " I have no mind thereto," 
said the king. " Oft I hear you say, and sooth I 
deem it, that little served to undo my brother 
Eystein after he turned to flight, and yet he was 
a man well endowed in everything that makes 
fair a king. Now can I see of my infirmity, how 
little may undo me, if I take up this counsel, 
whereas he got so sorely entangled ; albeit 
so far asunder were his conditions from mine, 
both as to health and all might. I was then 
in my second winter, when I was taken for king 
over Norway, and now I am well five-and-twenty. 
Meseems I have had more troubles and cares in 
my kingdom than pleasure and joy ; I have had 
many battles, whiles with more folk, whiles with 
less, and that has been my greatest good luck that 
I have never turned to flight. Let God rule my 
life, how long it is to be, but I shall never betake 
me to fliofht." 

426 The Saga Library. XVIII 


BUT when Jon and his fellows had riven that 
arm of King Ingi's array, then fled they, 
and many withal who had stood nighest 
thereto ; and then the array sundered and were 
confounded, but Hakon and his set on fast, and 
by then it was come towards dawn. Then was it 
sought to the banner of King Ingi, and in that 
brunt fell King Ingi, but Worm, his brother, up- 
held the fight. Now many folk fled up into the 
town. Worm fared twice into the town after the 
fall of the king, and egged on the folk, and either 
time he went back out on the ice and upheld the 
fight. Then Hakon and his sought to that arm 
of the array whereof was Simon Sheath captain. 
And in that brunt there fell out of Ingi's host 
Gudbrand, the son of Shavehew, kinsman-in-law 
to the king. But Simon Sheath and Hallward 
Hitch went at each other and fought with their 
companies, and drove out beyond Thralls' Berg, 
and in that brunt they fell, both of them, Simon 
and Hallward. Worm, the king's brother, got 
good word there, but at last he fled. The winter 
before Worm had betrothed to him Ragna, the 
daughter of Nicolas Mew, whom King Eystein 
Haraldson had had, and he was to go to his 
bridal the next Sunday. Blaise-mass was then on 
a Friday. Worm fled east into Sweden to Magnus 
his brother, who was then king there, but their 
brother Rognvald was earl there. These were 
the sons of Ingirid and Henry the Halt, who 

XIX Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 427 

was a son of the Dane-king Svein, the son of 

Kristin, the king's daughter, clight the body of 
King Ingi, and he was laid in the stone wall in 
Hallward's church out away from the choir on the 
south side. By that time he had been king for 
five-and-twenty winters. In this battle many folk 
fell on either side, yet by much the most out of 
the host of Ingi. Out of that host fell Arni, the 
son of Frirek. But Hakon's men seized the 
goods of the bridal, and a mighty lot of other 


KING HAKON laid all the land under 
him, and put his men into all offices and 
over the cheaping-steads. King Hakon 
and his men had their meetings in Hallward's 
church when they were reding the land-redes. 
Kristin, the king's daughter, gave gifts to the 
priest who guarded the keys to hide one of her 
men in the church, that he might hear the talk of 
Hakon and his men. But when she was aware 
of their counsels, she sent word to her husband, 
Erling Askew, in Biorgvin, that he should never 
trust them. 

428 The Saga Library. 


THIS tiding fell at Stickle-stead in Norway, 
as is aforewrit, that King Olaf cast from 
him the sword Hneitir whenas he got his 
wound. But a certain man, Swedish of kin, had 
broken his sword, and he took up the sword 
Hneitir and fought therewith. This man got 
away out of the battle and fared with other fleers, 
and came forth into Sweden, and home to his 
house. He had that sword all his life long, and 
his son after him. And each of those kinsmen 
took it one after other, and ever that followed the 
owning of the sword, that each told the other the 
name of the sword, and withal whence it was 
-come. But that was mickle later, in the days of 
Kyrialax, the Micklegarth-kaiser, that there were 
in the garth great companies of Vserings. That 
befell withal one summer when the kaiser was out 
on certain warfare, that they lay in war-booths. 
The Vaerings kept guard and waked over the 
king, and they lay on the fields without the camp. 
They shared the night between them for waking, 
and they who had watched before lay down and 
slept ; and all of them were fully weaponed. It 
was a wont of theirs, whenever they laid down to 
sleep, that each had the helm on his head, and his 
shield over him, and his sword under his head ; 
he should lay his right hand on the grip. A 
certain one of those fellows to whom was allotted 
the ward of the last part of the night, when he woke 
at dawn, there was his sword away from him ; but 

XXI Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad. 429 

when he sought, he saw the sword where it lay 
on the field far aloof. He stood up and took 
the sword, thinking that his fellows who had 
waked would have done it to mock him, to be- 
guile the sword away from him ; but they all 
denied it. This same thing befell for three nights. 
Then he wondered greatly, he and those others 
who saw and heard this, and men would be 
searching as to what might be at the bottom of 
this. Then told he that the sword was called 
Hneitir, and that Olaf the Holy himself had owned 
it and borne it in the battle of Stickle-stead, and 
he told them also how it had fared with the sword 
sithence. Thereupon these things were told to 
King Kyrialax, and he let call the man to him 
who fared with the sword, and gave him gold, 
three prices of the sword. And the king let bear 
the sword to Olaf's church, which is upheld by 
the Vaerings, and sithence it was there over the 
altar. Eindrid the Young was in Micklegarth 
when these things happened, and he told this tale 
in Norway, even as Einar, the son of Skuli, wit- 
nesseth in that drapa which he made on King 
Olaf the Holy, for there is sung this hap. 


THIS hap was in Greekland, while Kyrialax 
was king there, that the king fared on 
warfare into Vlakmen's-land. And when 
he came upon the fields of Pezina, there came 
against him a heathen king with an overwhelming 

43 The Saga Library. XXI 

host. Thither they had brought horse-host and 
much big wains, with battlements on the top. 
When they dight night-dwelling, they set up 
the wains one beside the other outside their camp, 
but outside of them they dug a huge ditch. And 
all that work was as great as a burg might be. 

The heathen king was blind. But when the King 
of the Greeks came, the heathen set their array 
on the fields outside the wainburg ; and the Greeks 
set their array thereagainst, and then each rode 
against the other and fought. Fared it then ill 
and unhappily, in that the Greeks fled and had 
gotten mickle man-tyne, but the heathen won the 
victory. Then the king manned an array of 
Franks and Flemings, who then rode out against 
the heathen, and it fared with them after the 
fashion of the former, in that many were slain ; all 
fled who got away. 

Then was the King of the Greeks much wroth 
with his warriors, and they answered him and 
bade him then take to the Vserings, his wine- 
skins. The king says thus, that he would not 
waste his best havings so as to lead a few men, 
howsoever valiant, against so mickle an host. 
Then Thorir Barnacle, who was then captain 
of the Vserings, answered thus the words of the 
king : " Even though there were before us a 
flaming fire, I and my folk would forthwith run 
against it, if I knew that thereby would be bought 
peace to thee, king, for the time to come." 

But the king answered : " Benight ye to your 
holy King Olaf for your avail and victory." 

The Vserings had of men four hundreds and a 

XXI Story of Hakon Shoulder-Broad, 431 

half. Then they took oath under handsel, and 
behight to rear a church in Micklegarth at their 
own costs, with the aid of good men, and to let 
hallow that church to the honour and glory of the 
holy King Olaf. Sithence ran the Vaerings forth 
into the field ; and when that saw the heathen, 
they told their king that once more fared a band out 
of the Greek-king's host upon them, " and this," 
said they, " is but a handful of men." Then said 
the king : " Who is that noble-looking man who 
rideth there on a white steed before their band ? " 
" Nought do we see him," said they. 

No less were the odds there than that sixty 
heathen were against one Christian man ; yet none 
the less the Vaerings held into the battle all boldly. 
But so soon as they came together, the host of 
the heathen was smitten with dread, so that they 
took to flight forthwith, and the Vaerings drave 
them and speedily slew a mickle many. But when 
the Greeks and the Franks, who had erst fled the 
heathen, saw this, then they sought thereto, and 
drave the flight with them ; by then the Vaerings 
had got into the wain-burg, and there was the most 
manfall. And when the heathen fled, the heathen 
king was taken, and the Vaerings had him with 
them ; and thus the Christians took the camp of 
the heathen and the wain-burg. 


V. F F 



SITHENCE Erling was ware of this, what 
was the rede-making of Hakon and his, 
he sent bidding to all lords of whom he 
wotted that they had been trusty friends of King 
Ingi, and also to those of the bodyguards and 
liegemen of the king who had got away, and to the 
house-carles of Gregory, and made a meeting 
appointed. And when they met and had their 
talk, they forthwith took the rede to hold to- 
gether their flock, and this they bound with fast 
words betwixt them. Sithence they talked hereof, 
whom they should take to king. And Erling 
Askew spake, and sought if it were the rede of 
lords and other rich men to take to king the son 
of Simon Sheath, the daughter's son of King 
Harald Gilli, and if Jon Hallkelson would be at 
the head of the flock. But Jon begged off. Then 
they tried Nicolas Skialdvorson, a sister's son of 
King Magnus Barefoot, if he would become lord 
of the flock. He answered on this wise, that that 
was his rede, that he should be taken to king who 

436 The Saga Library. I 

was come of kingly kin, and he for the ruling of 

the flock in whom wits might be looked for, and said 

that that would be better for the hosting. Then 

they tried Arni, King's Stepfather, if he would let 

take to king any of his sons, brothers to King 

Ingi. He answered that the son of Kristin, the 

daughter's son of King Sigurd, was best born of 

kin for the kingdom of Norway. "And there is," 

said he, " a man to be found to lead his counsels, 

who is in duty bound to look after his affairs and 

the realm, where Erling his father is, a wise man, 

hard-redy and much tried in battle, and a man good 

at ruling in the land ; he will not lack for furtherance 

of this rede, if good luck be with it." Many took well 

to this rede. Erling answers : " So hear I herein, 

as if most who have been sought to on this matter 

had rather beg off of the trouble. Now it seems to 

me even as sure, though I should take to this matter, 

whatever happens, that the honour shall be fast to 

him who ruleth the flock, as that things may fare the 

other way, even as it hath now fared with mickle 

many, who have taken up such big matters, that 

for that they have tyned all their own, and life 

withal. But if this affair should speed well, it may 

be that there be some who then would like to have 

chosen this task for themselves ; and he will need 

this, who goes into this trouble, to set strong stays 

thereto, that he sit not under the withstanding and 

enmity of them who now are bound to this rede." 

All yeasaid it to make that fellowship with full 

troth. Then Erling spake : " That is to say of 

me, that I deem it next to my bane to go to serve 

Hakon ; and though methinketh this most perilous, 

II Story of King Magnus, son of Erling. 437 

.yet I will rather risk it, to let you to look thereto ; 
and I shall take upon me the command of the flock, 
if that be the rede and desire of all of you, and ye 
are all willing to bind this with sworn oaths." 

They all yeasaid it ; and at this meeting it was 
settled that they should take Magnus, the son of 
Erling, to king. After this they held a Thing in 
the town, and at that Thing Magnus was taken to 
king over the whole land, being then five winters 
old. Sithence went all men under his hand who 
were there, and had been King Ingi's liegemen 
before, and they had, each one, the same nameboot 
that they had had erst with King Ingi. 


ERLING ASKEW arrayed his faring and 
betook him aboard ship, and took with 
him King Magnus and all the liegemen 
that were there at the time. In that journey were 
Arni, King's Stepfather, and Ingirid, the mother of 
King Ingi, and two of her sons, and Jon Kutiza, 
the son of Sigurd Stork, and the house-carles of 
Erling, and also those who had been the house- 
carles of Gregory, and they had ten ships alto- 
gether. They fared south to Denmark to meet 
King Waldimar, and Buriz, son of Henry, the 
brother of King Ingi. King Waldimar was a 
nigh kinsman of King Magnus. They were 
sisters, daughters of King Harald from the Garths 
in the East he being the son of Waldimar, the 
son of Jarisleif these to wit: Ingibiorg, the 

438 The Saga Library. Ill 

mother of King Waldimar, and Malmfrid, the 
mother of Kristin, the mother of King Magnus. 

King Waldimar gave them a good welcome ; and 
Erling and he were long in meetings and counsel- 
ling, and that came up from their talk, that King 
Waldimar should grant King Magnus all the aid 
from his realm which he might need for to make 
Norway his own, and sithence to hold it ; but 
Waldimar was to have that dominion in Norway 
which his former kin had had, Harald Gormson 
and Svein Twibeard, to wit, the whole of the Wick 
north to Rygiarbit. And this counsel was bound 
with oaths and treaties. Sithence Erling and his 
arrayed their faring from Denmark, and sailed out 
from Vendilskagi. 


FARED King Hakon in the spring, straight- 
way after Easter, north to Thrandheim ; 
he had then all the ships which King 
Ingi had had afore. Hakon had a Thing in the 
town of Cheaping, and there was he taken to king 
over all the land. Then gave he earldom to 
Sigurd of Reyr, and there was he taken to earl. 
Sithence fared Hakon and his back south, and all 
the way east to Wick, and the king went to Tuns- 
berg, and sent Earl Sigurd east to King's Rock to 
ward the land with some of his host, should Erling 
come from the south. 

Erling and his came to Agdir, and forthwith 
took the way north to Biorgvin ; there they slew 
Arni Fickleskull, King Hakon's bailiff, and went 

Ill Story of King Magnus, son of Er ling. 439 

thence again eastward to meet King Hakon. But 
Earl Sigurd had not been made ware of Erling's 
journey from the south, and was still east at the 
Elf, but King Hakon was still in Tunsberg. 
Erling laid by Horseness, and lay there for certain 

And King Hakon made ready in the town. 
Erling made for the town, took a certain hulk and 
laded it with wood and haulm, and set fire to it, 
but the wind blew into the town, and the hulk 
drave up town-ward. He let bear two cables on 
the hulk, and tied thereto two cutters, which he 
let row in such wise after the hulk, as the wind 
drove it before them. Now when the fire was 
come much anigh the town, they aboard the cutters 
held to the cables, so that the town should not 
burn. Then the smoke drave so thick into the 
town, that nought might be seen from the bridges 
whereas the king's array stood. Then laid Erling 
with all his host in from without on the windward of 
the fire, and they (Erling and his host) shot at 
them. But when the townsfolk saw that the fire 
was nearing their houses and many got wounded 
from shot, they took their rede and sent Priest 
Roald Longtalk out to find Erling, and to take 
truce for them and their town from Erling ; and 
they broke up the king's array when Roald told 
them the truce was granted by Erling. And 
when the host of the townsfolk was gone, then 
thinned the host on the bridges, yet some of 
Hakon's men egged on to withstanding, but 
Onund, the son of Simon, who had most to say 
in the rule of the host, spoke out thus : " Nowise 

44 The Saga Library. IV 

shall I fight for the dominion of Earl Sigurd 
and he nowhere near." Thereupon fled Onund, 
and then all the host that was with the king, and 
they up inland ; and there fell much folk of 
Hakon's host. So was sung then : 

Quoth Onund never would he 
Strive in the brunt of battle 
Till from the south Earl Sigurd 
Should sail with all his house-carles. 
Much folk of worthy warriors 
Of Magnus up the street fare, 
But hard away from thenceward 
The Hawks of Hakon hied them. 

Thorbiorn Skald-askew says so : 

Thou loath'st not, lord, to redden 
The teeth of the steed of troll-wife ; 
I heard that in wide Tunsberg 
Lightly good luck went with thee. 
The townsmen feared to meet there 
The rushing of the bright points ; 
Adrad were the stems of steel-din 
Of flame and swayed elm-bow. 

King Hakon fared overland ways north into 
Thrandheim. But when Earl Sigurd heard it, 
then fared he with all the ships he could get north- 
ward by the outer way to meet King Hakon. 


ERLING ASKEW took all those ships in 
Tunsberg which King Hakon had owned. 
There he got the Beechboard which King 
Ingi had owned. Erling went afterwards and laid 

V Story of King Magnus, son ofErling. 44 1 

all the Wick under King Magnus' sway, and like- 
wise all the land on his way to the north, and that 
winter he sat in Biorgvin. In those days Erling 
let slay Ingibiorn Sipil, a landed-man of King 
Hakon, north in the Firths. King Hakon sat in 
Thrandheim through the winter, but the next 
spring he called out an host, and arrayed him to 
fare south to have meeting with Erling. With 
him there were Earl Sigurd, Jon, son of Svein, 
Eindrid the Young, Onund, the son of Simon, 
Philippus, the son of Peter, Philippus, the son of 
Gyrd, Rognvald Kunta, Sigurd Cape, Sigurd Caul, 
Frirek Cock-boat, Asbiorn of Forland, Thorbiorn, 
the son of Gunnar Rentmaster and Stradbiarni. 


ERLING was in Biorgvin, and had a great 
host ; he took the rede of forbidding the 
faring of all such cheaping-ships as were 
bound north for Cheaping, whereas he thought that 
over-swift would news come to Hakon if ships fared 
between them ; yet he gave out that the cause there- 
for was, that the men of Biorgvin were worthier to 
have the goods aboard the ships, though they were 
bought undearer of the men of the burden ships 
than they might think due, " rather than it should 
be flitted to the hands of our foes and unfriends 
for their furtherance." 

Now gathered ships to the town, whereas came 
many every day, and none fared away. Then 
Erling let set up ships that were the lightest, and 

442 The Saga Library. 

let the rumour fare that he would abide there, and 
there make a stand backed up by his kinsmen and 
friends. But one day Erling let blow to a meeting 
of his shipmasters, and gave leave to all skippers of 
cheaping-ships to fare whithersoever they pleased. 
And when men had got the leave of Erling Askew, 
those who were masters of the ships of burden 
and already lay alboun to fare with their ladings, 
some for chaffer, some on other errands, and the 
wind also was handy for sailing north along the 
land, they had all sailed before nones of that day 
those who were boun ; each one sought to his 
faring most eagerly who had the swiftest ship, and 
they raced each with other. But when this 
gathered fleet came north to Mere, the host of 
King Hakon was there before them, and he him- 
self was ingathering men and arraying them, and 
summoned to him landed-men and the men bound 
to hosting, and had heard no tidings from Biorgvin 
a long while. But now they got this one news 
from all the ships that fared from the south, that 
Erling Askew had beached his ships in Biorgvin, 
and that they would have to come to him there, 
and that he had a mickle host. 

Thence Hakon sailed for Ve-isle, and sent from 
him men into Raumsdale, Sigurd the earl, to wit, 
and Onund, the son of Simon, to fetch him men 
and ships ; he also sent out men into either Mere. 
But when King Hakon had tarried a few nights 
in the cheaping-stead, he put off and went some- 
what further south, and thought he would thereby 
dight his faring the swiftlier, and that folk would 
the swiftlier come to him. 

VI Story of King Magnus y son of Erling. 443 

Erling Askew had given the cheaping-ships 
leave to depart from Biorgvin on Sunday, but on 
Tuesday, when done were the fore-masses, the 
king's trumpet was blown, and he summons to him 
his host as well as the townsfolk and let run out 
the ships which afore had been beached. Erling 
held a husting with his host and host-bound men, 
and told them his mind, named men for captains, 
and let read out the list of those who were set 
down for the king's ship. So closed the husting, 
that Erling bade each one to get ready in his 
room whereto he was set down, and gave out that 
he should lose life or limb who should tarry behind 
in the town when he put off on board the Beech- 
board. Worm King's-brother put off in his ship 
forthwith that night, and most of the ships which 
had been afloat heretofore. 


ON Wednesday, ere masses were sung in 
the town, Erling put off from the town 
with all his host, and they had one-and- 
twenty ships. There was a humming wind for 
faring from the south along the land. Erling had 
with him Magnus his son. Many landed-men 
were there, and they had the goodliest host. When 
Erling sailed north past the Firths, he sent in a 
cutter out of the way to the house of Jon, the son 
of Hallkel, and let take Nicolas, the son of Simon 
Sheath and of Maria, the daughter of Harald Gilli, 
and they had him with them out to the host, and 
he fared aboard the king's ship. 

444 2% Saga Library. VI 

On the Friday, so soon as it dawned, they sailed 
into Stone-bight. 

King Hakon lay then in that haven which hight 

,* and had fourteen ships. Himself, with 

his men, was up on the island a-playing, but his 
landed-men sat on a certain howe. They saw how 
a boat rowed from the south towards the island ; 
two men were there in it, and let themselves fall 
forward down to the keel of the boat, and pulled 
their oars no less wildly. And when they came 
aland they made not the boat fast, but ran both of 
them. That saw the mighty men, and spake 
between themselves that these men would to tell 
tidings, and stood up and went to meet them. 
And so soon as they met, Onund, the son of 
Simon, said : " Know ye aught to tell of Erling 
Askew, that ye fare so wildly?" He answered 
who might first bring out word for weariness : 
" Here saileth Erling from the south upon you 
with twenty ships, or nigh thereto, and many of 
them mightily big, and speedily will ye see their 
sails." Then answered Eindrid the Young: " Over- 
nigh to the nose, quoth the carle, when he was shot 
in the eye." And speedily they went thereto 
where was the play, and next then spake the horn, 
and the war-blast was blown, for the whole host to 
wend to the ships most eagerly, and this was at the 
time of day when meat was much dight. All the folk 
made for the ships, and each one leapt aboard that 
ship which was nighest to him, and the ships were 
manned unevenly. Thereupon they take to their 
oars, while some reared the masts and turn the 
1 Lacuna in the MSS. 

VII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 445 

ships northward, and make for Ve-isle, because 
they looked there for much help from the towns- 


N" EXT to this they see the sails of Erling 
and his, and so each the other. Eindrid 
the Young had the ship which was called 
Dragpay, a great longship-buss, which had become 
under-manned, as they who were on board her 
before had run aboard other ships, and this was 
the hindmost of Hakon's ships. But when Eindrid 
came over against the isle of Sack, then came 
Beechboard after them, which Erling Askew 
steered, and Erling lashed the ships together. 
By then Hakon was wellnigh come into Ve-isle, 
when they heard the trumpets going, for those 
ships that were nearest turned back and would 
give help to Eindrid, and then either side thrust 
into battle as they might bring it about ; many 
sails came down athwartship, and none were 
grappled, but they lay board to board. This battle 
was nought long ere the crew aboard King Hakon's 
ship broke up ; some fell, some leapt overboard. 
Hakon cast over him a grey cape and leapt into 
another ship ; but when he had been there for but 
a little while, he deemed he wotted that he was 
come there among unfriends. And when he be- 
thought him, he saw none of his men nor his 
ships right near, so he went on board Beech- 
board, and forward amongst the forecastle-men and 

446 The Saga Library. VI I 

craved quarter, and the forecastle-men took him 
to them and gave him quarter. 

In this brunt there had been mickle manfall, 
yet more of the men of Hakon. On Beechboard 
was fallen Nicolas, the son of Simon Sheath, and 
the slaying of him was laid to Erling's own men. 

After this there was a lull in the battle, and the 
ships on either side got clear of each other. Then 
it was told to Erling that King Hakon was there 
aboard the ship, and that his forecastle-men had 
taken him to them and behight to ward him. 
Erling sent a man forward and bade tell the fore- 
castle-men so to guard Hakon that he should 
not get away, and said that he would not speak 
against it that the king should have life, if that were 
the rede of the chief men, and that thereupon 
peace should be settled. All the forecastle-men 
bade him speak hailest of lords. Then let Erling 
blow up fiercely, and bade men this, that they 
should lay-to those ships which were yet unridded, 
and said they would never get a better chance for 
avenging of King Ingi. Then they all whooped 
the war-whoop, and each egged on the other, and 
fell to their oars for the onset. 

In this turmoil King Hakon was hurt deadly. 
But after his fall, and whereas his men became 
ware of it, they rowed hard on, and cast away 
their shields, and hewed two-handed, and heeded 
their life no longer. This over-boldness soon 
turned to them to mickle scathe, whereas Erling's 
men saw the bare hewing-steads on them ; and fell 
a mickle deal of Hakon's host, and that went most 
thereto, that the odds were great, and Hakon's 

VIII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 447 

men spared themselves but little, but none needed 
to name truce of Hakon's men, save such alone 
as mighty men took into their power, and hand- 
selled ransom for. These men fell of the host of 
Hakon : Sigurd Cape, Sigurd Caul, Rognvald 
Kunta. But some ships got away and men rowed 
into the Firths, and saved their lives thereby. 

The body of King Hakon was brought into 
Raumsdale, and was buried there. King Sverrir, 
his brother, let flit the corpse of King Hakon north 
to Cheaping, and laid it in the stone-wall in 
Christchurch on the south side of the choir. 


SIGURD and Eindrid the Young, Onund, 
son of Simon, Frirek Cock-boat, and yet 
more chiefs held the flock together ; they 
left the ships in Raumsdale, and fared thence to 
the Uplands. Erling Askew and King Magnus 
fared with their host north to Cheaping, and laid 
all the land under them wheresoever they fared. 
Sithence let Erling summon the Thing of Eres, 
and there Magnus was taken to king over all the 
land. But Erling did not tarry there long, for he 
deemed the Thrandheimers were not trusty to 
him and his son. And now Magnus was called 
king of all the land. 

King Hakon was a man somewhat fair of look, 
well grown, tall and slender ; he was much broad 
of shoulder, wherefore his men called him Hakon 
Shoulder -broad. But whereas he was young 

448 The Saga Library. IX 

of years, other chiefs had hand in his counsels 
with him; he was merry-hearted and humble 
in his speech, playful, and behaved after the 
manner of youths ; well befriended he was of all 
the commonalty. 


MARKUS O' SHAW was the name of ar 
Upland man, a kinsman of Earl Sigurd. 
Markus gave fostering to a son of King 
Sigurd, who also hight Sigurd. And after this the 
Uplanders took Sigurd to king by the rede of Earl 
Sigurd, and other chiefs who had followed King 
Hakon, and still they had a powerful host. Fared oft 
their flock atwain ; the king and Markus were less 
on the wind-board, but Earl Sigurd and other chiefs, 
with their companies, were more in face of the 
peril. They fared with their flock most about the 
Uplands, but whiles down into the Wick. 

Erling Askew had ever with him his son Magnus, 
and he also had under his rule all the host of the 
fleet, and the warding of the land. He was in 
Biorgvin some while that autumn, and fared 
thence east into Wick, and set up in Tunsberg, 
and arrayed for wintering there ; he gathered in 
from about the Wick scat and dues such as the 
king owned, and had also a goodly host and 

But inasmuch as Earl Sigurd had but little from 
the land, and his following was many, his wealth 
soon ran short, and wheresoever chiefs were not 

X Story of King Magnus, son of Er ling. 449 

near, wealth was sought all lawlessly, somedeal by 
reckless guilt-charges, somedeal by bare robbery. 


IN that time stood the realm of Norway in 
mickle bloom ; the bonder-folk were wealthy 
and mighty, and unwonted to the unfreedom 
and unpeace of the flocks ; and there befell speedily 
much talk and many tales when robberies were 

The men of Wick were full friends of King 
Magnus and of Erling, mostly for the cause of 
their friendship for King Ingi, the son of Harald, 
whereas the Wick-folk had always with their 
strength served under that shield. Erling let 
ward be holden over the town, and twelve men 
waked every night. Erling would ever be hold- 
ing Things with the bonders, and oft was that 
talked of, the turbulence of the men of Sigurd. 
And by the talking over of Erling and other men 
of the host, was gotten of the bonders great cheer 
to this, that it would be a mickle happy work that 
men should let that flock thrive never. Arni, 
King's-stepfather, spake long on this matter, and 
hard at the close ; for he bade this to all men 
who were at the Thing, both the men of Erling's 
host, and the bonders, and the townsfolk, to make 
weapon-take to this end : to doom by law Earl 
Sigurd and all the flock of them, both alive and 
dead, to the devil, and by the fierceness of the 
folk and their fickleness, they all yeasaid it ; and this 
unheard-of deed was done and settled even accord- 

v. G G 

450 The Saga Library. XI 

ing to what was laid down by law as to dooms at 
Things. Priest Roald Long-talk spake on this 
affair ; he was a man nimble of speech, and his 
speech came much to the same point as all that 
had been spoken before. Erling feasted folk 
through Yule at Tunsberg, and gave war-wage 
there at Candlemass. 


EARL SIGURD went with the flower of 
his host about the Wick, and many folk 
went under him by reason of his mastery, 
and many paid fine ; in this wise he went far and 
wide about up inland, and came down upon folk in 
sundry places. Some there were in his flock who 
privily sought truce with Erling, and answer came 
thereto, that all men who asked therefor should 
have life and limb, but they only should have 
land-abiding who were not in great guilts against 
him. But when the band heard that men should 
not have land-abiding, that held the flock much 
together ; for there were many who wotted them- 
selves to be so proven, as that Erling would deem 
them much guilt-bitten. Philippus, the son of Gyrd, 
made peace with Erling, and got back his lands, 
and fared home to his estate. But a little after 
thither came the men of Sigurd and slew him. 
Many blows did each deal the other in chasings or 
manslaughters ; but that is not written, wherein 
the lords had no dealings together. 

XII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 451 


IT was in the early part of Lent that news 
came to Erling how Earl Sigurd would come 
to meet him, and he was heard of here and 
there, whiles anigh, whiles further off. So Erling 
sent out spies so that he should be ware whereby 
they should come down. Every evening, also, he 
let blow all his host up from the town, and they 
lay out nightlong all gathered, and all the host 
arrayed in ranks. 

Then came news to Erling that Earl Sigurd 
and his were a short way thence away up at Re. 
So Erling arrays his faring from the town, and 
had with him all the townsfolk that were fight- 
worthy and weaponed, likewise all chapmen, save 
twelve men, who were left behind to guard the 
town. He left the town on Tuesday in the second 
week of Longfast after nones, and every man took 
with him two days' victual ; they fared away that 
night, and it was slow for them to bring the host 
out of the town. For every one horse and every 
one shield were two men ; and when the host was 
tallied, it was nigh on thirteen hundreds of men. 
And when news came to them they were told that 
Earl Sigurd was in Re at a homestead which hight 
Ravenness with five hundreds of men. Then let 
Erling call together the host, and told them the 
tidings he had heard ; and all egged on to hie 
them on, and fall on them unawares in their houses 
or else fight forthwith in the night. 

Erling spake and said thus: "That will be 

45 2 The Saga Library. XII 

deemed likely that a meeting betwixt me and Earl 
Sigurd may speedily come to pass ; there are in 
their flock withal a many men whose handiwork 
might well be remembered of us, in that they 
hewed down King Ingi, and so many others of 
our friends that it would be slow to tell the tale of 
them. Those deeds they did by the craft of the 
fiend and with wizardry and nithingship ; for it 
standeth here in our laws and land-right, that no 
man has so foredone him as that it be not nithing- 
ship or murder whenas men be slain a-night-tide. 
This flock has sought for itself such omens by the 
counsel of wizard-folk, that they should fight by 
night, but not under sun ; have they withal by such- 
like goings on won such victory, as to stride over 
the head of such a lord as they have laid to earth. 
Now have we often said and shown, how abomin- 
able their ways seem to us, in that they have broken 
into battle by night. So therefore let us rather 
follow the example of those chiefs, who are better 
known unto us, and it is better to take after, to 
fight in the bright day and in battle-array, than to 
steal by night upon sleeping men. We have a 
good host against them, seeing that theirs is no 
greater than it. So shall we abide the day and the 
light, and hold together in battle-array, if they will 
give us any onfall." . 

After that all the host sat down ; some tore 
down certain hayricks, and made them lairs thereof, 
some sat on their shields, and so abode the day- 
light. Chill was the weather with drift of sleet 

XIII King Magnus > son of Er ling. 453 


EARL SIGURD had so first got the news, 
that the host was come nigh upon them. 
His men stood up and weaponed them, 
and knew unclearly how mickle host Erling and his 
had ; and some would flee, but most would abide. 
Earl Sigurd was a wise man and deft of speech, 
but was not called a man of mickle daringf and he 

o 7 

also was fainer of fleeing, and gat therefor mickle 
blame of his men. 

But when it took light, both sides fell to arraying 
their host. Earl Sigurd ranked on a certain brent 
above the bridge, betwixt it and the town ; fell 
thereby a little river. 

But Erling and his ranked them on the other 
side of the river. At the back of their array there 
were men a-horseback well-weaponed ; they had 
the king with them. 

The earl's men saw that the odds would be great, 
and told it for rede to seek to the wood. The earl 
answered : " Ye tell me there goes no heart with 
me, but now shall that be tried, and let each one 
look to it that he neither flee nor falter ere I do. 
We have a good fighting-ground ; let them come 
over the bridge, and when the banner cometh over 
the bridge, then plunge we upon them down over 
the brent ; and now let no one flee from the 

Earl Sigurd had a browned kirtle, and a red 
cloak with tucked-up skirts, shoes of shanks' 
leather on his feet ; he had a shield, and a sword 

454 The Saga Library. XIV 

which was called Bastard. The earl said : " That 
wot God with me, that rather than take mickle 
gold, would I get in one stroke of Bastard on 
Erling Askew." 


THE host of Erling Askew would go forth 
towards the bridge, but he spake, bidding 
them go up along the river : " This is but a 
little river and no trouble in the way, for the land 
is level thereby." And so was it done. The earl's 
array fared up along the brent over against them, 
and when the brent came to an end, and it was 
level and good across the river, then spake Erling 
that his men should sing Pater Noster and pray 
that they might gain the day who had the better 
cause. Then they sang Kirial aloud, all of them, 
and all beat their weapons on their shields. But 
amidst that din slunk away and fled three hun- 
dreds of men out of Erling's host. Erling and his 
host went over the river, but the men of the earl 
whooped the war-whoop. But the onfall down 
over the brent upon Erling's array failed them, 
and the battle befell on the slope of the brent, and 
was first with spear-thrusts and speedily thereon 
with handy strokes ; the banner of the earl fared 
a-heel, so that Erling and his men got up upon 
the brent. Then was the battle short ere the 
earl's folk fled into the wood at their back. Then 
this was told to Earl Sigurd, and men bade him 
flee. He answered : " Forth with us now, while 

XV King Magnus, son of Erling. 455 

yet we may." And forward they went right 
valiantly, hewing on either hand. In that brunt 
fell Earl Sigurd and Jon Sveinson, and nigh 
on sixty men. Erling and his lost but few men, 
and drave the rout even unto the wood. There 
Erling stayed his host, and turned aback. He 
came thereto where thralls of the king would drag 
the raiment off Earl Sigurd, who was not utterly 
dead, though he knew nought. He had stuck his 
sword into its sheath, and it was lying there near 
him. Erling took it up and beat the thralls there- 
with, and bade them crawl off. After this Erling 
turned back with his host and sat up in Tunsberg. 
Seven nights after the fall of the earl the men 
of Erling took Eindrid the Young, and he was 


MARKUS O'SHAW and Sigurd, foster- 
father and foster-son, betook them down 
into the Wick when spring came on, 
and there got them ships. But when Erling heard 
that, he went east after them, and they met at 
King's Rock, and Markus and his fled out into 
Hising-isle, and there drifted down to them the 
folk of the land, the Hising-dwellers, and went 
into the array of Markus' men. Erling and his 
rowed to land, and the men of Markus shot upon 

Then spake Erling with his men : " Take we 
their ships, and go not up to fight a land-host ; 

456 The Saga Library. XVI 

the Hising-dwellers are ill to seek home, hard men 
and unwise. But a short while will they have this 
flock with them, whereas Rising is a little land." 
So was it done, that they took the ships, and 
brought them over to King's Rock. Markus and 
his folk fared up into the Marklands, and were 
minded to fall on thence ; and now either side had 
news of the other. Erling had a much throng 
with him, and drew thereinto men from the 
countrysides ; neither side as then fell on the other. 


EYSTEIN, the son of Erlend Sloven, was 
chosen for archbishop after the death of 
Archbishop Jon. Eystein was hallowed 
the same year that King Ingi fell. But when 
Archbishop Eystein came to the see, he was in 
good favour with all the folk of the land. He was 
a man right stirring and of great kindred, and the 
Thrandheimers gave him good welcome, for most of 
the great men within Thrandheim-law were bound 
to the archbishop either by kinship or affinity, and all 
in full friendship with him. The archbishop then 
began to sound the bonders. First talked he how 
needy of wealth the see was, and on the other hand 
what uprising it stood in need of now, if it were to 
be upheld so much the more seemly than before, 
as it was more of dignity than erst, since an arch- 
bishop's chair had been set up there. He bade 
this of the bonders, to grant him in payment of 
fines to him a silver-proof ounce, but before he had 

XVII King Magnus, son of Er I ing. 457 

taken the fine-proof ounce which passed current in 
payment of fines to the king, but these two ounces 
differ by one-half the value of that which he would 
have, the silver-proof, being by that much the 
better of the two. Now by the power of the 
friends and kinsmen of the archbishop, and the 
shoving of himself, this was brought about, and it 
was doomed as law throughout all Thrandheim- 
law, and all the folklands that were within his 


"T IT THEN Sigurd and Markus had lost 
\/\ / their ships in the Elf, and saw that 

V V they might get no chance of Erling, 
they turned them to the Uplands, and so went by 
the overland road to Thrandheim, where they had 
a good welcome, and there was Sigurd taken 
for king at the Eres'-Thing. Many of good 
men's sons there betook them to the flock ; they 
got them aboard ship and arrayed them busily, 
and fared south to Mere when it summered, and 
took up all the king's dues wheresoever they 

In Biorgvin there were for the warding of the 
land Nicolas, the son of Sigurd, Nokkvi, the son of 
Paul, and yet other captains of companies, Thorolf 
Dryllr, Thorbiorn Rentmaster, and many others. 

Markus and his sailed from the north and heard 
that the men of Erling had a throng in Biorgvin ; 
se there they sailed by the outer course, and south 

458 The Saga Library. XVIII 

about it. Men would be saying that that summer 
the men of Markus had fair wind whithersoever they 
would fare. 


ERLING ASKEW, so soon as he had 
learnt that Markus and his had turned 
them to the north, held north into Wick, 
and drew to him folk, and was soon many manned, 
and had big ships and many. But as he sought 
out into Wick he fell in with contrary winds, and 
lay in havens here and there all that summer. 

But when Markus and his came east to Listi, 
they heard that Erling had an overwhelming host 
in the Wick, and therewith they turned back north. 
And when they came into Hordland they were 
minded for Biorgvin, and when they were off the 
town Nicolas and his came rowing from within 
against them, and had folk mickle more and ships 
bigger. Saw then Markus and his that there was 
nought to choose than to row south away ; so some 
made out for the main, some south into the sounds, 
some into the firths. But Markus with some 
company ran up aland in the island called Skarpa. 
Nicolas and his took their ships, gave truce to 
Jon, son of Hallkel, and some other men, but slew 
most that they caught. Some days later Eindrid 
Heathfilly found Sigurd and Markus, and they 
were flitted to Biorgvin. Sigurd was to-hewen out 
from Gravedale, but Markus was hanged with 
another man on Wharfness ; and this was Michael- 

XIX King Magnus, son of Er ling. 459 

mass. Then the flock that had followed them 
drifted asunder. 


FRIREK COCK-BOAT and Biarni the 
Evil, Onund, son of Simon, and Ornolf 
Rind had rowed out into the main sea 
with sundry ships, and held on out by the high sea 
course east round the land. But wheresoever they 
came aland they robbed and slew the friends of 
Erling. But when Erling heard of the slaying of 
Sigurd and Markus, he gave home-leave to landed- 
men and hosting-bound folk ; but he himself held 
with his own folk east across the Fold, for he had 
news of the men of Markus being there. Erling 
held for King's Rock, and dwelt there the autumn 
through. In the first week of winter fared Erling 
out into Hising-isle with much folk, and craved 
there a Thing. The Hising-dwellers came down 
and held up the Thing. Erling laid guilts at their 
hands in that they had run into flock with Markus' 
men and arrayed an host against him. Ozur hight 
the man who was richest among the bonders, and 
who spoke on their behalf. The Thing was long, 
and at last the bonders handselled judgment to Er- 
ling, and he appointed a meeting within a week in 
the town, and named fifteen men of the bonders to 
come thither. But when they came, Erling doomed 
against them to pay three hundreds of neat. Fare 
the bonders home and liked their lot but ill. A 
little after the river was laid with ice, and Erling's 

460 The Saga Library. XX 

ship was frozen in ; and then withheld the bonders 
the fine, and laid them into a gathering awhile. 

Erling arrayed there for a Yule-feast, but the 
Hising-dwellers had a guild-ale, and held their 
fellowship through Yule-tide. The night after the 
fifth day of Yule, Erling fared out into the island 
and took the house on Ozur, and burnt him therein, 
and slew in all ten tens of men, and burnt three 
homesteads, and fared sithence back to King's 
Rock. Sithence came the bonders to him and 
paid him the fine. 


ERLING ASKEW got ready so soon as it 
was spring, when he might float his ships 
for ice, and fared from King's Rock. He 
heard that they harried north in the Wick who 
had erst been Markus' men. Erling held spies 
over their farings, and went to seek them, and 
found them as they lay in a certain haven. Onund, 
the son of Simon, and Ornolf Rind got away, but 
Frirek Cock-boat and Biarni the Evil were laid 
hands on, and much of their fellowship slain. 
Erling let bind Frirek to an anchor and cast over- 
board ; and for that work was Erling the most 
ill-liked within the Thrandheim-laws, for Frirek 
had there the best of kindred. Biarni Erling let 
hang ; he spake the foulest of words, as his wont 
was, ere he was hanged. So says Thorbiorn Skald- 
Askew : 

XXI King Magmis, son of Er ling. 461 

Erling drew on the Vikings 
Fate on the Wick-firth's eastside ; 
Was many a man of Cock -boat 
Gat hurt, as there he fared on. 
Fared was a fluke twixt shoulders 
Of Frirek ; but the ill-willed 
Biarni, to men unhelpful, 
'Gainst tree hung somewhat higher. 

Onund and Ornolf, and all the bands that had 
got away, fled to Denmark, but were whiles in 
Gautland or in the Wick. 


ERLING ASKEW afterwards held on 
to Tunsberg, and tarried there long 
through the spring. But when it sum- 
mered he went north to Biorgvin, where was then 
all-mickle throng. There was then Stephanus, 
a legate from Romeburg, and Archbishop Eystein, 
and other inland bishops. There also was Brand, 
to boot, who was then hallowed for Iceland ; there 
was also Jon, the son of Lopt, the daughter's 
son of King Magnus Barefoot ; and at that 
time had King Magnus and other kinsmen of 
Jon owned to his kinship. Archbishop Eystein 
and Erling Askew would often be talking privily 
together. And one time was that in their talk that 
Erling said : " Is it true, lord, what men say, that 
thou hast eked the price of the ounce to thee for 
fines from the bonders in the north country ? " 
The archbishop answers : " That is very sooth 
that the bonders have granted it to me to eke the 

462 The Saga Library. 

price of the ounce for my fines ; they have done 
that at their free will, and through no hard deal- 
ings of mine, and thereby they have eked God's 
glory and the wealth of our see." 

Said Erling : " Is it so, lord, that this be accord- 
ing to the laws of King Olaf the Holy, or hast 
thou taken this matter aught beyond what is written 
in the law-book ? " The archbishop answers : " So 
will the holy King Olaf have framed his laws 
as he gat the yea-word and the goodwill of all 
the folk thereto ; but it is not to be found in his 
law that the eking of God's right be banned." 
Erling said: "As ye will eke thy right, so wilt 
thou will to strengthen us herein, that even as 
much we eke the king's right. 1 ' The archbishop 
answers : " Thou hast eked now by enough the 
name and the dominion of thy son Magnus ; but if I 
have unlawfully gotten the price of the ounce from 
the Thrandheimers, am I then minded that the 
law-breaking beareth bigger, that he should be 
king over the land who is not a king's son ; there 
is neither law thereto nor example in the land." 
Erling said : " When Magnus was taken to king 
over Norway's realm, that was done with the wotting 
and rede of thee and other bishops here in the land." 
Answers the archbishop : " Thou behightedst then, 
Erling, if we were of one mind with thee that 
Magnus were taken to king, that thou wouldst 
strengthen God's right in all places with all thy 
might." " I say yea thereto," said Erling, "that I 
have behight to uphold God's law and the land- 
right with all my strength and the king's. Now 
I see here better rede than that each of us should 

XXI King Magnus, son of Er ling. 463 

lay wyte-words on the other ; let us rather hold 
to all our privy pledges. Strengthen ye Magnus 
to the realm as thou hast behight, but I shall 
strengthen thy dominion in all things profitable." 

Then fared all the talk smoothly between them. 
Then spake Erling : "If Magnus be taken to 
king even as goeth custom of yore here in the land, 
then must thou of thine own might give him a 
crown, as be God's laws on the smearing of a king 
to power. But though I be not a king, nor come 
down from a kingly race, yet have most of them 
who have been kings within my memory been 
such as not to know as well as I did what was law 
or the land's right. But the mother of Magnus is 
the daughter of a king and a queen, wedlock-born. 
Magnus withal is the son of a queen who was a 
lawful wife. And if thou wilt give him the king's 
hallowing, sithence none may rightly bereave 
him of the kingdom. Nought was William the 
Bastard a king's son, yet he was hallowed and 
crowned to king over England, and sithence has 
the kingdom of England been held in his kindred, 
and all have been crowned. Nought was Svein 
Wolfson in Denmark a king's son, and yet he was 
a crowned king there, and his sons after him, and 
one after another of those kinsmen have been 
crowned kings. Now here in the land is an arch-see, 
and that is a great honour and dignity to our land. 
Eke we it now with good things, and have we a 
king crowned no less than have the Englishmen 
and the Danes." 

Sithence the archbishop and Erling talked this 
matter over often ; and thereupon the archbishop 

464 The Saga Library. XXII 

bore the matter before the legate, and easily gat 
the legate turned so as to be of one mind with him. 
And then the archbishop had a meeting with the 
suffragan bishops and other clerks, and bare this 
matter before them ; and they all answered with 
one accord, saying that that was their rede as the 
archbishop would have it be ; and they all urged 
that the hallowing should go forward so soon as 
they found that that was what the archbishop was 
pleased to let so be. So then this was the judg- 
ment of all. 


ERLING ASKEW let array in the king's 
garth a mighty feast, and the great hall 
was hung with pall and bench-cloths, and 
all fitted up at exceeding great cost. There was 
feasted the court and all the household service, 
and a multitude of guests and many lords. Then 
Magnus took king's hallowing of Archbishop 
Eystein, and at that hallowing were other five 
bishops and the legate and a throng of clerks. 
Erling Askew and twelve landed-men with him 
swore oath to the laws with the king. And on 
the day when was the hallowing, the king and 
Erling gave banquet to the archbishop and the 
legate and all the bishops, and that feast was of 
the most glorious ; father and son giving then 
many great gifts. At this time King Magnus was 
eight winters old, and had then been king for 
three winters. 

XXIII King Magnus, son of Erling. 465 


BY this time King Waldimar of Denmark 
had heard the tidings from Norway, that 
now Magnus was sole king there, and that 
scattered were all other flocks there in the land. 
So the king sent his men with letters to the two, 
King Magnus and Erling, calling to their mind 
the privy pledges which Erling had bound with 
King Waldimar, even as hereintofore is written, to 
wit, that King Waldimar should own of the W T ick 
from the east unto Rygjarbit, if Magnus should 
become sole king over Norway. And when the 
messengers came forward and showed to Erling 
the letters of the Dane-king, and he understandeth 
the claim the Dane-king hath on Norway, Erling 
brought this before other men upon whose rede 
he threw himself. But they said all one and the 
same thing, that never should the Danes have part 
in Norway, for men said, that that had been the 
worst age there in the land, when the Danes had 
power over Norway. The Dane-king's messengers 
told their errand before Erling and craved a clear 
say of him. Erling bade them fare with him in 
harvest-tide east into the Wick, saying, that he 
would then give a clear answer, when he had met 
the men of the Wick who were the wisest. 

v. H n 

466 The Saga Library. XXIV 


IN the autumn Erling Askew went east into 
Wick and abode in Tunsberg, and he sent 
men over to Burg and let summon there a 
four-folks'-Thing, Sithence fared Erling thither 
with his folk. And when the Thing was set, 
then Erling spake, and told what counsels had 
been made fast between him and the King of 
Denmark when Erling and his had raised this flock 
for the first time. " Now will I," said he, " hold all 
pledges which we made then, if that be the will and 
desire of you bonders, rather to serve under the 
King of Denmark than the king who here is hal- 
lowed and crowned king to this land." 

The bonders answered Erling and said thus : 
" For nought will we become the Dane-king's 
men, so long as one of us Wick-dwellers is alive." 
Rushed forth then all the throng of them with 
whooping and calling, and bade Erling hold his 
oaths which he had then sworn to all the folk of 
the land, " to ward the land of thy son, but we shall 
all follow thee." And therewith the Thing broke 
up. After that the messengers of the Dane-king 
went back south to Denmark, and told of their 
errand, even as it was. The Danes laid great 
blame on Erling and on all Northmen, saying they 
were never proven in aught but evil ; and the 
rumour went abroad that the Dane-king would 
have his host out next spring and harry Norway. 
Erling went in the harvest-tide north to Biorgvin, 

XXV King Magnus, son of Er ling. 467 

and sat there through the winter and gave out 
war-pay there. 


THAT winter fared certain Danes about 
the country inland, saying that, as oft 
befell, they were going to the holy King 
Olaf to wake. But when they came to Thrand- 
heim they met there many mighty men, and told 
their errand, to wit, that the Dane-king had sent 
them to the Thrandheimers to seek their friend- 
ship and welcome if he should come into the land, 
and he promised to give them both dominion and 
wealth. With this message there went a letter of 
the Dane-king under his seal, and therewith a 
bidding that the Thrandheimers should send him 
in return letters under seal. This they did, and 
most men took well to the message of the Dane- 
king. The messengers went back east again 
when Lenten fast was wearing. Erling sat in 
Biorgvin, and when spring came Erling's friends 
told him what rumour they had learnt from men 
of ships of burden from the north from Thrand- 
heim, the import thereof being that the Thrand- 
folk were his open foes, and that they gave it out 
at their Things, that if Erling came to Thrand- 
heim he would never come out past Agdirness 
with his life. Erling said that was but slander 
and fool-talk. Erling gave out that he would be 
faring south to Unarheim to Rogation-days' 
Thing, and let array a twenty-benched cutter and 

468 The Saga Library. XXVI 

a fifteen-benched scow, and a victualling ship of 
burden withal. But when the ships were alboun 
strong southerly gales came on. On Tuesday in 
Rogation-days let Erling blow his folk to the 
ships, but men were loath to leave the town, and 
deemed it ill to row against the wind. Erling 
laid his ships north into Bishopshaven. Then 
spake Erling : "III do ye murmur at rowing in 
the teeth of the wind ; so fall to now and raise 
the masts and hoist sail, and so let the ships g6 
north." So did they, and sailed north that day and 
the night. On Wednesday, towards eve, they 
sailed in past Agdirness, and there there was a 
great fleet before them, ships of burden and other 
ferries and cutters, and this was an host for a wake 
on its way in to the town, part of it going before 
them, part abaft them, wherefore the townsfolk 
Were not heeding the sailing of longships. 


RLING came to the town at the time 
when matins were being sung up at 
Christ's Church. Erling and his made a 
rush into the town, and they were told that Alf 
the Red, the son of Ottar Brightling, a landed- 
man, was still sitting and drinking with his follow- 
ing. Erling set upon them, and Alf was slain and 
most of his following. Few other men fell, for 
most folk were gone to church. This was in the 
night before Ascension-day. Straightway the next 
morning Erling let blow all folk out to Ere-Thing. 

XXVII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 469 

And at this Thing Erling bore charges against 
the Thrandheimers, and laid on them treason 
against the king and himself, and he named 
Bard Cocktail, and Paul, son of Andreas, and 
Raz-Bard, who then had in charge the town- 
lands, and a great many others. They answered 
and pleaded not guilty. Then Erling's chaplain 
stood up and held up many letters and seals, and 
asked if they knew their seals there which they 
had sent in the spring to the King of Denmark ? 
and then were the letters read out. There, more- 
over, were the Danish men with Erling who 
had fared in the winter with the letters, for it 
was Erling who had got them to do this; and 
now they gave out before all people the words 
which each one had spoken : " This thou didst 
say, Raz-Bard, smiting thy breast : 'Out of this 
breast came from the first all these redes.' ' Bard 
answered : " I was mad, then, my lord, when I 
said such things." So there was no other way out 
of this but to handsel Erling doom on all the case. 
And straightway he took an exceeding deal of 
wealth from many men, and laid down as ungild- 
some all them that were slain. Fared Erling 
sithence back south to Biorgvin. 


ING WALDIMAR had out that spring 
a mickle host in Denmark, and made with 
that host north for the Wick. Straight- 
way when he came into the realm of Norway's 

L V.*- -V A J_^ S 


47 The Saga Library. XXVII 

king, then had the bonders a gathering before 
him and a throng of men. The king fared peace- 
fully and quietly ; but wheresoever they fared on 
the mainland, men would shoot at them even if 
there were but one or two ; and that the Danes 
deemed full ill-will to them of the people of the 

But when they came to Tunsberg, King Waldi- 
mar summoned a Thing at Howes, but none sought 
thereto from the countrysides. Then King Wal- 
dimar spake to his host on this wise : " Easily is 
it to be seen of this landsfolk, that they all stand 
against us. Now we have two choices on hand : 
one, to fare the war-shield over the land, and 
spare nothing, neither man nor goods ; the other, 
to fare south again with things as they are ; and it 
is more to my mind to fare into eastern ways to 
heathen lands which lie broad enough before us, 
rather than to slay down Christian folk, however 
worthy they be thereof." 

But all the others were eager for harrying, yet 
the king had his way, in that they fared back 
south ; yet all-wide was robbing toward in the out- 
isles, and wheresoever the king himself was not 
near. So they went south to Denmark and nothing 
of tidings befell. 

XXIX King Magnus, son of Erling. 47 1 


ERLING ASKEW heard that the Dane- 
king was come into the Wick, and he 
called out the all-men host from all the 
land, both of men and ships, and that was the 
greatest rush to arms, and he held all that host 
east along the land. But when he came east to 
Lidandisness, he heard that the Dane-host was 
gone back south to Denmark, and that they had 
robbed far and wide about the Wick. Then 
Erling gave home-leave to all the hosting-bound 
folk, but he himself and sundry landed-men sailed 
with a much many ships south after the Danes to 
Jutland. And when they came there where it is 
night Deersriver, there lay before them the Danes 
come back from the hosting with many ships. 
Erling set upon them and fought with them. The 
Danes fled away speedily and lost many men, but 
Erling and his robbed the ships and the cheaping- 
stead, and got there full mickle fee, and fared 
sithence back to Norway. So for a while there 
was unpeace betwixt Norway and Denmark. 


KRISTIN, Kings-daughter, fared that 
autumn south to Denmark, and went to 
King Waldimar her kinsman ; they were 
children of two sisters. The king gave her exceed- 
ing good welcome, and made over to her such grants 

47 2 The Saga Library. XXIX 

as that she might get her men well holden there. 
She would often be talking to the king, and he 
was all-blithe with her. But next spring Kristin 
sent men to Erling, and bade him go meet the 
Dane-king and make peace with him. The 
summer after was Erling in the Wick ; and he 
dight a longship and manned it with the goodliest 
of his folk, and then sailed over unto Jutland. He 
heard that King Waldimar was in Rand-oyce, 
and thither Erling sailed, and came to the stead 
when most folk were sitting at the meat. But 
when they had rigged their tilts and moored the 
ship, Erling went up with eleven men, all byrnied, 
with hats over their helms, and swords under 
their cloaks, and went to the king's chamber. 
Then was faring in the service, and the door was 
open, and Erling and his went in straightway up 
to the high-seat, and Erling spoke : " Truce will 
we have, king, both here and for our home-faring." 
The king looked round at him and said: "Art 
thou there, Erling ?" He answered : " Erling is 
here, and tell us speedily whether we shall have 

There were within eighty of the king's men, and 
all weaponless. The king said : " Truce shall ye 
have, Erling, as thou cravest ; on no man do I 
dastardly if he come to see me." 

Then Erling kissed the king's hand, and walked 
out sithence to his ship. There he tarried for a 
while with the king, and they talked over a peace- 
making between them and the two lands, and they 
agreed that Erling should abide there as hostage 
with the Dane-king, and Asbiorn Snare, the 

XXX King Magnus, son of Er ling. 473 

brother of Archbishop Absalon, should go to Nor- 
way as hostage in return. 


THAT was on a time when King Waldimar 
and Erlingwere talking, that Erling said : 
" Lord, that meseemeth likeliest to peace, 
that ye have all that of Norway which was behight 
in our privy talk, and if it be so, what lord wouldst 
thou set thereover, any Dane perchance ? " " Nay," 
says the king. (Says Erling :) " No lords from 
Denmark will will to fare to Norway, and have 
there to deal with a hard and unyielding people, 
they who already be here in a good case with 
thee. For that sake I fared hither, that for nought 
will I miss thy friendship. Hither to Denmark 
have fared afore, men of Norway, such as Hakon 
Ivarson and Finn Arnison, and thy kinsman, King 
Svein, made both his earls. Now I am in Norway 
a man of no less might than were they then, and 
the king gave them Halland to rule over, a 
dominion that was his own before. Now me- 
seemeth, lord, that thou mightst well grant me this 
nef in Norway, if I become thy man and be under 
thine hand, so that I hold this dominion of thee ; 
likewise also that King Magnus, my son, may not 
forbid me this, but I will be linked to thee, and owe 
thee all the service which that name maketh due." 
Such things talked Erling, and others of like 
kind, and at last it came to this, that Erling went 
under King Waldimar's hand, and the king led him 

474 The Saga Library. XXXI 

to seat and gave him earldom, and the Wick for 
a dominion to rule over. After that Erling fared 
home to Norway, and was earl sithence while he 
lived, and kept in peace with the Dane-king 
ever after. Erling had four base-born sons, one 
hight Reidar, another Ogmund, both by one 
mother ; the third Finn, the fourth Sigurd, and their 
mother was Asa the Light ; they were the younger 
ones. Kristin, King's-daughter, and Erling had 
a daughter hight Ragnhild ; she was wedded to 
Jon, the son of Thorberg, from Randberg. Kristin 
left the land with a man called Grim Rake ; they 
went out to Micklegarth, and lived there for a 
while, and had sundry children together. 


OLAF, the son of Gudbrand, the son of 
Shavehew, and Maria, the daughter of King 
Eystein Magnuson, was fostered at Sigurd 
Bait-hat's, in the Uplands. But while Erling was 
in Denmark, fosterfather and fosterson, Olaf and 
Sigurd, raised a flock to which many Uplanders 
betook themselves. Then was Olaf taken to king 
there. With their flock they went about the 
Uplands, but whiles down to the Wick, whiles 
east into the Marklands, but they were not 
shipped. But when Earl Erling had news of this 
flock, he fared with his host into the Wick, and kept 
to his ships through the summer, and was in harvest- 
tide in Oslo, and feasted there through Yule. 
He let hold spies about inland on the flock, and 

XXXII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 475 

went himself up country in search of them, together 
with Orm King's-brother; and when they came to 

the water called ,* they took all ships that 

were round the water. 


THE priest who sang at Rydiokul, which is 
on the water, bade the earl and his to a 
feast, to come there at Candlemass. The 
earl behight his faring, deeming good to go to 
hours there. They rowed thither over the water 
on the eve of the mass-day. But that priest 
had another rede on hand. He sent men to 
bring news to Olaf and his about the farings of 
Erling. He gave Erling and his strong drink 
through the evening, and let them drink right 
much. And when the earl and his went to sleep, 
their beds were made in the banquet chamber. 
But when they had slept for a little while the earl 
awoke, and asked if it were time for matin-song. 
The priest said the night was but little spent, and 
bade them sleep in quiet. The earl answers : 
" Many things do I dream to-night, and ill do I 
sleep." Thereupon he fell asleep. A second time 
he awoke, and bade the priest stand up and sing 
the hours. The priest bade the earl sleep, saying 
it was midnight. And the earl lay down and 
slept a little while, and then leapt up and bade his 
men clothe themselves. They did so, and took their 
weapons and went to church, and laid down the 

1 Lacuna in the MSS. 

476 The Saga Library. XXXIII 

weapons outside while the priest sang the matin- 


IN the evening the news came to Olaf, and 
they walked that night six miles by road, 
and men deemed that a wondrous walk. 
They came upon Rydiokul at matin-song, and 
pit-mirk it was as might be. Olaf and his made 
for the guest-chamber, and whooped the war- 
whoop, and slew within some men who had not 
gone to the matin-song. But when Erling and 
his heard the whoop, they ran to their weapons, 
and made away down to the ships. Olaf and 
his met them against a certain garth-wall, and 
there was battle, and Erling and his moved down 
along the wall, and the wall shielded them. 
They had a much less folk ; fell a many of them, 
many were wounded. What helped them most 
was that Olaf and his kenned them not, so mirk 
as it was, but Erling's men made sturdily on for 
the ships. There fell Ari Thorgeirson, the father 
of Bishop Gudmund, and many others of Erling's 
bodyguard. Erling was wounded on his left side, 
and some men say that he himself drave his own 
sword against himself, whenas he drew it. Orm 
was also much wounded. With great toil they got 
to their ships, and thrust off from the land forthwith. 
It was deemed that Olaf and his had borne with 
them the greatest ill-luck to this meeting, seeing 
how Erling and his were betrayed, if Olaf and his 

XXXV King Magnus, son of Er ling. 477 

had but fared forth with more rede. Afterwards 
men called him Olaf the Unlucky, but some called 
them Hoodswains. They fared with that flock 
inland once again as erst. But Earl Erling fared 
out into the Wick to his ships, and tarried the 
rest of the summer in the Wick, while Olaf and 
his were in the Uplands, or, at whiles, east in the 
Marks ; and so held they the flock for the next winter. 


THE next spring Olaf and his went out 
into the Wick and took there the king's 
dues, and dwelt there long through the 
summer. Earl Erling learned that, and went 
with his host east to meet them, and their meeting 
was on the east side of the firth, where it is hight 
Stangs. There was mickle battle, and Earl Erling 
had the victory. There fell Sigurd Bait-hat and 
many of Olaf s men, but he saved himself by flight, 
and fared sithence south to Denmark, and was the 
next winter in Jutland in Alburg. But the next 
spring Olaf took the sickness which led him to 
death, and he is laid in earth there at Mary's 
Church, and the Danes call him holy. 


Paul, the son of Skopti, was a landed- 
man of King Magnus ; he laid hands on 
Harald, who was said to be the son of King Sigurd 

478 The Saga Library. XXXVI 

Haraldson and Kristin Kings-daughter, brother 
to King Magnus by the same mother. Nicolas 
brought Harald to Biorgvin, and handed him over 
to Earl Erling. It was the manner of Erling, 
when his unfriends came before him, that he spake 
nought, or few to them, and measuredly what there 
was of it, if he were of mind to slay them, but those, 
who he would should have life, he ill-used in words 
to the utmost. Erling said but little to Harald, and 
men misdoubted them on what he was minded. 
Then men prayed King Magnus to plead peace 
on behalf of Harald with Erling, and the king did 
so. The earl answered : " That is what thy friends 
arede thee, but thou wilt rule the realm for but a 
short while if thou followest upright counsels only." 
Sithence Erling let flit Harald over into Northness, 
and there was he to-hewen. 


EYSTEIN is named a man who was called 
the son of King Eystein, the son of 
Harald ; he was at this time a young 
man not fully ripe. It is told thereof that he came 
forth one summer up into Swede-realm, and fared 
to find Earl Birgir Brosa, who at that time was 
wedded to Brigida, the daughter of Harald Gilli, 
and sister to the father of Eystein. Eystein set 
before them his errand, and prayed them for avail. 
The earl, yea, and both of them, took his case 
well, and behight him their avail, and he tarried 
there for a while. Earl Birgir gave to Eystein 

XXXVI King Magnus, son of Er ling. 479 

some folk and a good penny for his maintenance, 
and sent him well out of hand, and they both 
behight him their friendship. Then Eystein fared 
north into Norway, and came down into the 
Wick ; and forthwith folk flocked to him, and that 
flock grew in strength, and they took Eystein for 
king, and they fared into Wick with that flock 
through the winter. But inasmuch as their means 
ran short, they robbed widely ; so landed-men and 
bonders got folk together against them. But when 
they were overborne by strength, they fled away 
into the shaws and lay long out in the wild-woods 
and their raiment went off them, so that they 
wrapped birch-bark about their legs, wherefore the 
bonders called them Birchlegs. They ran oft into 
the builded parts, and came forth here and there, 
and betook them to onset straightway wherever 
they had not too many men before them. They 
had sundry fights with the bonders, and now this, 
now the other side, got the best of it. Three 
pitched battles had the Birchlegs, and gained the 
day in all. In Crookshaw they were wellnigh 
undone ; for the bonder-gathering came on them 
in throng. The Birchlegs felled timbers athwart 
their way, and ran sithence into the wood. For 
two winters the Birchlegs were in the Wick, so 
that they came not into the north country. 

480 The Saga Library. XXXVII 


KING MAGNUS had been king for 
thirteen winters when the Birchlegs hove 
up. The third summer they betook 
themselves to ships ; they fared along off the land, 
and got them money and men. At first they 
were in the Wick ; but, as the summer wore, they 
set out for the north, and went so speedily that no 
news went before them until they came to Thrand- 
heim. The Birchlegs had in their flock most of 
Markmen and Elfgrims, and very many they had 
from Thelmark, and were now well weaponed. 
Eystein, their king, was fair-faced and goodly to 
look upon, little-faced, and not a mickle man ; by 
many folk he was called Eystein Maiden. 

King Magnus and Earl Erling sat in Biorgvin 
whenas the Birchlegs sailed northward about 
them, and were not aware of them. Erling was 
a rich man, wise of wit, the greatest warrior if 
unpeace were toward, a good land-councillor, and 
handy at rule ; he was called somewhat grim and 
hard-hearted, but for this chiefly, that he allowed 
but few of his unfriends land-abiding, even though 
they prayed for it, and for that reason many chose 
to run to the flocks so soon as such hove up 
against him. Erling was a tall man and hard 
knit, somewhat high-shouldered, long-faced, sharp- 
faced, light of hue, and became much hoary ; he 
bore his head somewhat halt ; merry-hearted was 
he, and stately of mien ; he had raiment of ancient 

XXXIX King Magnus, son of Er ling. 481 

fashion, long jerkins, and long sleeves to kirtles 
and shirts, welsh cloaks and high-laced shoes. 
Such attire he let the king wear while he was 
young, but when he ruled himself he arrayed 
himself much bravely. King Magnus was light- 
hearted and playful, of mickle merriment, and a 
mickle wencher. 


N" ICOLAS, the son of Sigurd, the son 
of Rani, was son of Skialdvor, the 
daughter of Bryniolf Camel, who was 
sister to Haldor, the son of Bryniolf, and of one 
mother with King Magnus Barefoot. Nicolas 
was the most of lords. He had a manor in 
Halogaland, in Angle-isle, where 'tis night Steig. 
Nicolas owned a garth in Nidoyce, down below 
John's church, on ground owned by Chaplain 
Thorgeir. Nicolas was oft in Cheaping, and 
ruled all things among the townspeople. Eric 
Arnison, who was also a landed-man, had to wife 
Skialdvor, the daughter of Nicolas. 


THAT was the latter Marymass, when men 
went away from matin-song in the town, 
that Eric went to Nicolas and said: 
" Father-in-law, that say certain fishermen who 
are come from without, that longships be sailing 
into the firth, and men guess that there will be the 
v. i i 

482 The Saga Library. XL 

Birchlegs; and this is the business, father, to let blow 
all the townsfolk with weapons out to the Eres." 

Nicolas answered : " I fare not, son-in-law, after 
the gabble of fishermen. I shall send spies out 
into the firth, and to-day we shall hold a Thing." 

So Eric went home ; and when it rang to high 
mass Nicolas went to church. Then came Eric to 
him and said : " I think, father, the tale must be 
true, for here are now the men who say they saw 
the very sails. Meseemeth that rede, to ride out 
of the town and gather us folk, for meseemeth we 
are somewhat short of men in the town." Answered 
Nicolas : "So quacksome as thou art, son-in-law! 
Let us first hearken mass, and then make our 
redes si thence ; " and Nicolas went to church. 

But when the mass was sung, Eric went to 
Nicolas and said: "Father-in-law, now are my 
horses ready, and I shall ride away." Nicolas 
answers : " Farewell, then ; we shall have a Thing 
at the Eres, and ken what folk we have in the 
town." So Eric rode away, and Nicolas went to 
his own house, and then sat down to table. 


BUT at the time when the victuals were set, 
a man came in and told Nicolas that the 
Birchlegs were rowing into the river. 
Then Nicolas called out that his men should 
weapon them ; and when they were weaponed 
Nicolas bade them go into the loft, and the 
unhandiest rede was that, whereas, if they had 
warded the garth, then would the townsfolk have 

XLI King Magnus, son of Er ling. 483 

come to help them. But the Birchlegs filled all 
the garth, and sithence went all round about the 
loft. Now they called to each other, and the 
Birchlegs offered Nicolas truce, but he naysaid it. 
Sithence they fought ; and Nicolas and his warded 
themselves with bow-shot and hand-shot and oven- 
stones. But the Birchlegs hewed at the houses, 
and shot at their swiftest. Nicolas had a red 
shield with gilt nails therein, and starred with 
William's girth. The Birchlegs shot so that the 
arrows stuck even up to the reedbands. Nicolas 
.said : " Now the shield lies to me." There 
Nicolas fell, and a great part of his following, and 
he was most bemoaned. The Birchlegs gave truce 
to all the townsfolk. 


SITHENCE was Eystein taken to king, 
and all folk went under him. For a while 
he tarried in the town, and after went up 
Into Thrandheim ; there came much folk to him. 
There Thorfin the Swart of Snos came to him 
with a following of men. Early in winter they 
went out to the town, and then there came to 
them the sons of Gudrun of Saltness, John Kitten, 
Sigurd, and William. They fared up from Nidoyce 
to Orkdale, and there were they tallied up to well- 
nigh twenty hundreds of men. Fared they so to 
the Uplands, and thence out over Thotn and 
Hathaland, and unto Ringrealm. 

484 The Saga Library. XLII 


KING MAGNUS went east into the Wick 
in the autumn with some of the host, 
and with him went Worm King's-brother. 
Earl Erling was left behind in Biorgvin, and had 
there a much folk ; and he was to deal with the 
Birchlegs if they should fare by the west. King 
Magnus, he and Worm, both, sat in Tunsberg, and 
the king feasted there through the Yuletide. 
King Magnus heard that the Birchlegs were up in 
Re. So the king, he and Worm, went out of the 
town with their host and came into Re. There 
was deep snow on the ground, and the weather 
was wondrous cold. But when they came to the 
homestead, they went out of the tun unto the road, 
and without of the garth they ranked them, and 
trampled the snow hard for themselves ; they had 
not full fifteen hundreds of men. The Birchlegs 
were at the other stead, and some of them here and 
there in houses. But when they were ware of 
King Magnus' host they were fetched together 
and thrust into array. So when they saw the folk 
of King Magnus, they thought, as was sooth, that 
theirs was the more, and so gave battle forthwith. 
But as they pushed forward along the road, only 
few men abreast might get on, but those who ran 
out of the road got snow so deep that they might 
scarce get on at all, and so brake their array ; but 
they fell who pushed on foremost along the road, 
and then the banner was hewn down, and they who 
were nighest shrank aback, and some brake into- 

XLII King Magnus, son of Er ling. 485 

flight. The men of King Magnus followed them 
up, and slew one after the other whomsoever they 
caught. The Birchlegs might come now into no 
array, and were bare before the weapons, and 
then many fell, and many fled. And here it befell 
as oft will be, however valiant and bold at arms 
men may be, that, if they get great strokes and 
break into flight, most of them will be loath to come 
back. Topk to flight now the main host of the 
Birchlegs, and a many fell, for the men of King 
Magnus slew all that they might, and to no man 
was peace given, those whom they caught, and 
the flight drifted wide ways about. King Eystein 
turned to flight, and ran into a certain house and 
prayed for peace, and that the bonder should hide 
him ; but the bonder slew him, and then went to 
find King Magnus, and met him at Ravenness. The 
king was in the guest-chamber, a-baking him at 
the fire ; and there were many men. Sithence men 
fared, and flitted the body thither, and the king 
bade men step up and ken the body. A certain 
man sat on the cross-dais in the corner, and he was 
a Birchleg, but no man had given heed to him. 
When he saw the body of his lord, and kenned it, 
he stood up swift and hard, axe in hand, and ran 
swiftly up the floor and hewed at King Magnus, 
and it came on the neck by the shoulder. A 
man saw where the axe swept, and shoved him 
aside, whereby the axe turned down into the 
shoulder, and that was a great wound. Then he 
reared the axe aloft a second time, and hewed at 
Worm King's-brother ; he lay in the dais, and the 
blow was aimed at both his legs ; but when Worm 

486 The Saga Library. XLIIf 

saw that a man would slay him, he turned thereat 
swiftly, and cast his feet forward over his head, 
and the axe came on the dais-stock and stuck fast. 
But weapons now stood so thick on the Birchleg 
that he might scarce fall down. Then saw they 
that he had dragged over the floor after him his 
guts, and that man's valour is right much bepraised. 
King Magnus' men drave the flight long, and 
slew all that which they might. There fell Thor- 
fin of Snos ; fell there also many other Thrand- 


THIS flock, called Birchlegs, had gathered 
together in great multitude, and this was 
a folk hard, and the men the boldest of 
men-at-arms ; their host was somewhat untame, 
and fared much turbulent and reckless when they 
deemed they had a great strength of their own. 
They had in their flock few who were men of sober 
counsels, or wont to the ruling of land or laws, or 
to steer an host ; and though some of them were 
better knowing, yet the band would have only that 
which seemed good to themselves, deeming they 
might be without fear because of theirmultitude and 
valour. But in what of the host got away there were 
many wounded, and had lost their weapons and 
clothes, and all were they moneyless ; some of 
them made eastward for the Marklands, many 
for Thelmark, most of those, to wit, who had 
kindred there ; some went all the way east into 
Swede-realm. All saved themselves, for little 

XLIV King Magnus, son of Erling. 487 

hope was harboured of truce from King Magnus 
or Earl Erling. 


KING MAGNUS fared sithence back out 
to Tunsberg, and became all-famed for 
this victory ; for it had been the say- 
ing of all folk that Earl Erling was breast and 
ward of that fatherhood ; but when King Magnus 
had gained the day over such a strong flock and so 
thronged, and had had the lesser host, all men 
were minded to think that he would overcome all, 
and that he must be by as much the greater warrior 
than the earl, as he was the younger than he. 





Of the less obvious "kenningar" (periphrases), etc. For 
abbreviated references see vol. i., p. 381. 

Page 3. i. 

REDDENER of the edge of fight-keen Hneitir : 
"rj6 : Sandi eggja rog-ors Hneitis " = Magnus the 
Good, afterwards King of Norway. Wealth- 
breakers : " seim-brotar," those who break gold, amongst 
other things, for the purpose of giving it away : men in 
general. Worm-seat's hater : " orm-setrs hati " = he who 
readily parts with gold, gives it freely ; " ormr " = here the 
dragon Fafnir, whose seat = lair, was gold. Cf. S. E. i. 
352 foil., N. F. (Fafnis mal), 219 foil., Volsungasaga, ch. 
xxviii. Hords' friend : " HorSa vinr "rrfriend of the folk 
of Hordland, i.e, of the Norwegians, Magnus the 

2. Eagles' feeder: "ara brae : 5ir"(bra : S = carrion), Magnus 
the Good, as man of war and slaughter. The second 
couplet of this half-strophe should read : 

Aboard bore nimble courtmen 
The eagles' feeders war-gear. 

Page 4. Shearer (lessener) of the surf-flame : " brim- 
loga-ryrir " = Magnus the Good. Surf-flame = gold. 

Paged i. Knop-picture : "hun-skript" = sail, striped 
with coloured wands. 

2 - Ygg of battle: "Yggr rimmu " = warrior, Magnus 
the Good ; Yggr, one of Odin's names : Odin of fight, 
god of fight = warrior. Reddener of the tongue of wolf- 
droves : "rj63r tungu ulfa ferSar " = Magnus the Good. 

49 2 The Saga Library. 

Fame-Things : " tirar J>ing," meetings of fame or glory, 
battles bravely fought. 

Page 7. Reddener of Ygg's sea-mew's feathers : 
" Yggjar mas frSri-rjoftr " = reddener of Odin's mew's = 
raven's, feathers, a pregnant kenning for one who pro- 
fusely sheds blood = Magnus the Good. Dread-helm : 
" aegis-hjalmr," galea terrifica, originally the helmet pos- 
sessed by HrerSmar, the father of Fafner. Cf. S. E. 
i. 356 : " Fafnir hafSi J?a tekit hjalm, er HrefSmarr hafSi 
att, ok setti a hofut s6r, er kallaSr var aegis-hjalmr, er oil 
kvikvendi hrae'Sast er sja," i.e. Fafner had then taken a 
helm, that Hreidar had owned, and set it on his head, 
which was called Frightener's helm ; that all quick 
things dread who see it. Hence the war-helm of an irre- 
sistible victor is called " aegis-hjalmr." Feeder of wound- 
waves' blue vulture : "faeftir benja-kolgu bla-gamms" = 
feeder of blood-seeking ravens = Magnus the Good. 

Page 10. Reddener of eagles' footsoles : "arnar 
il-rjoSr" = "rj6$r arnar ilja," who provides bleeding 
corpses for eagles to stand on and tear, warrior, Magnus 
the Good. 

Page 12. Side byrnies : "sfoar brynjur" = loricae 

Page 1 6. Ring-stem: "hrings meftSr " = a man. For 
kennings of this kind Snorri renders the following 
account, S. E. i. 332-4: " Hvernig skal kenna mann ? 
Hann skal kenna viS verk sfn, )>at er hann veitir eSa 
)>iggr efta gerir ; hann ma ok kenna til eignar sinnar, 
)>eirrar er hann a, ok sva ef hann gaf, svd ok viS aettir J?aer 
er hann kom af, sva faer er fra honum komu. Hvernig 
skal hann kenna vitt J>essa luti ? Sva, at kalla hann vinn- 
anda e'Sa fremjanda e^Sa til fara sinna e^a athafnar, vfga 
e'Sa saefara e^Sa vei$a e^a vdpna e^Sa skipa. Ok fyrir j?vf, 
at hann er reynir vapnanna, ok vffir vfganna, alt eitt ok 
vinnandi ; vf&r heitir tre, reynir heitir ok tr6 ; af )>essum 
lieitum hafa skaldin kallat menn ask efta hlyn, lund efta 
o^Srum vi^Sarheitum karlkendum, ok kent til vfga eSa 
skipa eSa fjdr": i.e. How shall a man be "kenned" 

Explanations. 493 

(poetically circumscribed) ? He shall be " kenned " to his 
works, to what he yields, or accepts, or does ; he may 
also be " kenned " to what possessions he owns, and also 
to what he gave, so also to the kindred he sprang from, 
and the kindred that came from him. How shall he be 
" kenned " to these things ? Thus, to call him the 
"winner" (worker, doer) or furtherer or "tiller" (plier) 
of his journeys or deeds, fights or sea-farings or huntings 
or weapons or ships. And inasmuch as he is trier 
(reynir) of weapons and worker (vi*&r) of rights, which 
all comes to the same thing as " winner " (doer, worker), 
and wood (vi*Sr) is a tree and rowan (reynir) also is a 
name of a tree, so from these names the skalds have 
called men " ash " or " plane "(-tree) " grove " or other 
masculine names of trees, and " kenned " them to fights, 
or ships, or fee (things of prize). Kennings, therefore, 
of the nature of " ring-stem " depend originally on the 
pun or double meaning of " reynir " and " vi'Sr." 

Page 23. 2. Leek-equal : " lauk-jam " = smooth, like a 
leek ; of laws : fair and just. 

Page 24. 2. Gladdener of the falcon of wounds' warm 
tears: "teitir tar-mutaris varmra benja = teitir mutaris 
varmra benja tdra " : wounds' warm tears = fresh-shed 
blood ; the falcon thereof = raven, his gladdener, a 
warrior, here King Magnus the Good. " Mutari," a falcon 
that is " muta'Sr," i.e. has moulted, M. H. G. " muzare," 
" muzaere." Cf. Alwine Schultze, Hofisches Leben, etc., i. 
369 foil. 

3. Hideous it is, when Thingmen . . . thrust down 
nose into cloak-lap : " at fingmenn stinga nosum nftSr i 
feldi," an often-met-with figure of speech to indicate a 
sullen state of mind on the part of those so spoken of. 
The common expression is : " drepa hofSi niftr 1 feld," to 
hide one's face with the cloak. Cf. Egilssaga, ch. Ivi., 
or " drepa nrSr hofSi," Njalssaga, ch. xxii. 

Page 26. Luller of the woe of wolf : " y Igjar angr-taelir 
= taelir angrs ylgjar" ("taelir" = beguiler), he who soothes 
wolves' hunger, a warrior, King Magnus the Good. 

494 The Saga Library. 

Page 27. 2. Fir's hound : "fyris garmr" = devastator 
abietum, wind, storm. Storm-steed : " el-marr " (squall 
mare), a ship. 

3. Byrny-Thing : " bryn-fing " = battle, its bidder : 
" bj6$r," commander of war-hosts, King Magnus the 
Good. Driver of the belt-shafts : " sesir fetil-stinga," 
lit. incitator mucronum balteorum ; " fetill," the leathern 
strap over the shoulder from which the sword hung 
down by the side (Gr. Tgxa^wv), its " stingr," sticking instru- 
ment = sword, its " urger-on," a warrior, here King Magnus 
the Good. 

Page 40. i. Thorns of sea-gleeds : "borvar gratis 
g!63a " = men ; " graeSir " = sea, its " g!65," gleeds = gold, 
the thorn-bushes or bramble-bushes thereof, those 
adorned with gold, men. Sark of the Thing of Odin's 
[read : Kevin's] handmaid : " manning HeSins serkjar 
= serkr pings mans HSins." HSinn, a mythic king, 
who in war took captive Hild, the daughter of a Nor- 
wegian king named Hogni, and sailed with her from 
Norway to the Orkneys, whither he was pursued by 
Hogni. They met in Hoy (Haey), and there befell the 
fight of the Hiadnings. Cf. S. E. i. 432-36, and Sorla 
J?attr, FaS. i. 109 foil. Hedin's "man" = bond-maid = 
Hild, her Thing, encounter = Hiadnings' fight, battle, the 
sark thereof, a byrny, coat of mail. 

2. Shaft-flints: " skepti-flettur." That this is the 
sense of the Icelandic term is rendered certain by 
the following statement in the Konungs Skuggsjd 
(Speculum regale), Christiania, 1848, p. 86, 11. 9-10: "A 
skipi eru go^ir langorfs-ljar ok langskeptar skeggexar, 
slagbrandar ok stafslongur, skeptiflettur ok allskyns 
annat vapngrjot " : On board ship are good (useful) 
longscythe-sickles and longshafted beard-axes, ramrods 
and stave-slings, shaft-flints and all sorts of other weapon- 
stones. As " fletta" without doubt means the flaking stone, 
flint, tt = nt assimilated, these and other passages, which 
will find their proper treatment under " weapons " in the 
forthcoming fourth volume of Heimskringla, show that 

Explanations. 495 

far down historic times the !flint weapons of the stone 
age still were in some use in the North. Thorns of gold- 
rings : "borvar baugs" = men. Cf. pp. 16 and 40, I. 

Page 41. I. Twirl-spears: " snaeri-dorr." Cf. The 
Story of the Ere-Dwellers, p. 170, 1. 2, and note thereon, 

P- 2 93- 

2. War-clouds: "bo3-sky" = shields. Boards: "borS," 

3. Keel-wains: "kjalar vagnar" = ships. Raven of 
the harbour : " varar hrafn," id. 

Page 42. 2. Waster of the sun of the swan-field : 
" svan-foldar sol-ryrandi = ryrandi solar svan-foldar " : 
swan-field, haunts of the swan = water, the sun thereof = 
gold, the waster thereof = bounteous giver of it, a free- 
handed man, King Magnus the Good. Sword-staves : 
"stafir hjorva" = men. Cf. p. 16, and 40, I. 

3. Stems of hard-squall of Hrammi : " viSir harE-els 
Hramma": Hrammi, a name of Odin (S. E. ii. 555), 
his hard-squall = brunt of battle, its stems = warriors, 
fighters, men. Cf. p. 16. Stems of sword-din: "gn^- 
stafir hjorva = stafir hjorva gnys," id. 

4. Drooping The Sogn women hear not : " fregnat 
slikt konur ur Sogni hnipnar," read : Drooping This 
Sogn women hear not ; i.e. The women of Sogn (Norway) 
will delight in the defeat of Svein's host. 

5. Sword-Gaut : " SverS-Gautr " : Gautr, Odin's name, 
god, god of the sword = warrior, man. Wealth-wights : 
"au^Ss arar" = men ; "arr," prop, a messenger, one who 
has errand, business on hand. 

Page 43. 2. One word asked the Sealand maiden, i.e. 
with one voice, etc. Wealth-staff : " au'S-tro'Sa " = 
woman ; " tr6fta " being a feminine term for an object of 
wood, pole, staff, or the like. This kenning for woman 
is of the class of those defined in note to p. 16. 

Page 44. The " Lund's All-wielder " and the " earl " 
mentioned is Svein Wolfson, whom King Magnus " called 
his earl," ch. xxx. 

Page 45. 2. Web-Gem: "vef-Gefn"; Gefn, i.e. god- 

496 The Saga Library. 

dess, of the craft of weaving, a woman ; an apostrophe. 
Frey of battle : " Freyr vi'ga " = god of fight and slaughter, 
King Magnus the Good. 

Page 46. i. Sea's elk: "vags elgr" = ship. Pine of 
the wind of troll-wife: "rygjar regg-buss = buss rygjar 
hreggs": wind of troll-wife = mind, valour, heart, the 
buss = pine thereof = man, warrior, here King Magnus the 
Good. Rain of the fight-cloud: "regn r6g-skyja" = 
battle ; "r6g" = fight, its " sky" " = cloud = shield, the rain 
thereof, the brunt of weapons bearing on the shields. 

Page 50. i. Wealth-thorn: "auSar fora " = man, 
King Magnus. 

2. Ring-sark's dyer : "hring-serks lituftr'^a warrior, 
here King Magnus ; " hring-serkr," a coat of ring-mail. 

Page 51. i. Hlokk's hawks: " Hlakkar haukar" = 
the hawks of the Valkyrie = ravens. Seat of shield- 
reed : " setr randa-reyrar " = shield : " randa-reyrr " = 
sword, its seat = the place whereon it alights = shield. 

Page 57. Hid the helm-seat: "huldi hjalm-setr" = 
went with a hidden head, went hiding himself. 

Page 63. Gleed-red worm-place : " tand-rautt orm- 
torg" = gold ; " torg," lit. market-place. 

Page 7 1. 2. The italicized line forms the first sentence 
of a thirdly occurring "klofastef" in Heimskringla 
(cf. Saga, lib. iii. p. 249, 2, with note, p. 402, and iv. 
p. 351, i, with note, p. 479). The full sense of this split 
refrain is made up of the last (italicized) lines of strophes 
p. 72 and p. 98, 2 : 

Let the soul of mighty Harald 
Abide, where well it liketh, 
O'er lands with Christ for ever. 

Page 74. I. Hand-gleeds: " handa-gloS " = gold. 

2. Waster of wolves' sorrow: "ey'Sir herSingja sutar" 
= assuager of wolves' hunger, here King Harald Hard- 

Page 75. Poop's-hart : " vengis hjortr" = ship ; "vengi" 
"asdicula in puppi navis, tectum puppis," Lex. Poet. 

Explanations. 497 

Others take " vengi " to mean sea, sea-expanse. Gerd of 
gold-ring : " GerSr goll-hrings " = woman. 

Page 80. Stems of sea's hawk : "val-meft>ar vft$is = 
merSar vals vfSis " = sea-men, men in general. Steeds 
of rollers : " hlunn-gotar " = ships. Wave-nags : " unn- 
vigg" = ships. 

Page 94. i. Oak of linen: "h'n-eik" = woman. 
Gerd of song-spell: "GerSr galdrs"= woman. 

Page 96. Hlokk of the drifting of Kraki : "Hlokk 
Kraka dn'fu " = woman, here the daughter (Dotta) or 
daughters of Thorkel Gusher. The drifting of Kraki = 
gold. Cf. Heimskringla, i. (Saga Library, vol. iii.), 
p. 199, 2, with note, p. 395-96. 

Page 97. Rakni's road : " Rakna stigr" = sea,cf. Heims- 
kringla, i. (Saga Library, iii.), p. 182, with note, p. 394. 

Page 98. i. Paths of Budli : " BuSla s!6ir" = sea. 
Budli, a sea-king of fame, S. E. i. 548. 

Page 99. i. Fight-Ragnir : " F61k-R6gnir " = god of 
fight, warrior. Rognir, a name of Odin. 

2. Wind-skates : " byr-skrS " = ships. Wind -hawk : 
"byrjar valr," id. 

Page 107. Fattener of the fight-stare : " feitir f61k- 
stara " = warrior, here King Harald Hard-redy. Fight- 
stare = raven, the bird of slaughter. 

Page 1 08. i. The film of sea- weed: ")>jalmi fangs " = 
sea. " Jjjalmi " seems etymologically to answer to film, 
as " Jjoka " does to fog, or "Jjjol" (stem "J>jal") to file. The 
verb " skeina," which, for want of better equivalent, we 
render "shear," seems to support our translation, the 
real sense of it being to inflict a s&in-wound. But our 
rendering may possibly not hit off the poet's thought 
exactly. In Thomassaga (ed. E. Magnusson), i. 276, 10, 
"Jjjalmi" is a synonym for "snara," which again is a 
translation of the Lat. laqueus. So it is possible that the 
notion the poet wanted to express by "Jjjalmi" here was the 
" ensnarer," " entangler," the " encompasser," by an asso- 
ciation of ideas with the many kennings that describe 
sea as the " band," "girdle," "belt," "circle," etc., of lands, 

V. K K 

498 The Saga Library. 

islands, etc. But though this might have been the case, 
it seems quite obvious that his mind's eye was also open 
to the relation of the sea surface, in these applications, to 
"tang "(seaweed), and therefore, ex industria, used theverb 
" skeina," in order the better to bring home the sense of 
")>jalmi"as the superincumbent coverof theseaweed = film. 

2. Shield-blink : " randa-blik " = the flash of the shield 
= sword. 

Page 121. 2. Gold-spoilers: " golls lytendr " = men ; 
a contemptuous kenning. 
Page 122. 

Little needeth, 
Men say, for leek to eke him. 

Egilsson, in Scripta historica Islandorum (his Latin trans- 
lation of Fornmannasogur), vol. vi., p. 272, note h, thus, 
doubtless correctly, explains this somewhat enigmatic 
proverbial saying : " facile est, volentem instigare ; qui- 
bus verbis Haraldus propensionem animi sui ad injurias 
ulciscendas et malum malo rependendum haud obscure 
indicare videtur." 

Page 130. i. Dele the "," after " upbare " and read : 
" prows " for " prow." 

3. Swart square-cleft sea-catchers : " (hin) svortu fer- 
kleyf saefang " = square-chipped oars. 

4. Sea-adder: " unnar-na^Sr" = ship. 

Page 131. 2. Scathe of lindens: "skaSi lindis" = 
destroyer of the wood = storm. 

Page 133. i. Wolf-gracious friend-gifts' giver = giver 
of gifts to friends, gracious to wolves : " veitir vin-gjafa, 
varg-hollr = hollr vargi," King Harald Hard-redy. 

2. Peace-eager: " frrS-vandr : " "pacisstudiosus," Lex 
Poet., but " vandr " means " nice " in the sense of hard or 
difficult to come to terms, to get on with ; and " peace- 
careful " or " peace-wary " seems better to suit the cha- 
racter of Harald. 

3. Shell-edged: "skel-eggjaSr" = keen-hearted, valiant. 
Page 1 34. Tangle's meadow : " fangs (seaweed's) 

" = sea. Sound-mares : " sunda marar "= ships. 

Explanations, 499 

Page 135. 3. On to white weed of battle: "a hvftar 
hlffar," read : on the white shielding weapons. 

Page 136. i. Finn -geld: " Finna gjold " = arrows. 
Refers to the spoils that Gusi, King of the Finns, yielded 
fallen to Ketil Hasing, consisting of the sword " Drag- 
vendill " and the three arrows, " Flaug," " Fi'fa," and 
" Hremsa." Cf. The Saga of Ketil Haeing, FaS. ii. 147, 
148. The shields of Fafnir : " skildir Fafnis," the shields 
on board King Harald's ship, the Dragon (Dreki), cf. ch. 

Page 154. i. Root-dog, read : roof-dog : " hr6t-garmr " 
=fire. See Vigfiisson's derivation of " hrdt" in his Diet, 
p. 288a. 

2. Bane of Half: " Halfs galli"=fire ; cf. The Story 
of the Ynglings (Saga Library, vol. iii.), p. 30, with note, 

P- 383. 

Page 162. Linen-brent: "hor-brekka " = woman. 

Page 164. i. Corpse heath-cock : "val-)>i$urr" = raven, 
as devourer of corpses. Stem-hawks : " stafns-haukar " 
= ships. 

Page 165. Steeds of troll- wife: " fakar trolls " = 

Page 1 68. I. Olaf high-minded wots him a fourth 
-case of a " klofastef," of which this is the first sentence. 
The full period is made up of the last lines of 
strophes, pp. 191 and 201 : 

A mickle deal the best bom. 
But the original is fuller than our rendering, and reads : 

Rfklundafcr veil undir . . . 
Sik beztan gram miklu . . . 
Olafr borinn solu. 

Prosaic order : " Ri'klundaSr Olafr veit sik borinn miklu 
beztan gram und solu " = 

Olaf high-minded wots him 
A mickle deal the best born, 
Beneath the sun, of rulers. 

Page 175. i. Mine have I not = my byrny have I not. 

500 The Saga Library. 

2. Hild of hawk-field : "val-teigs hildr " = Valkyrja. 
Pole of jewels: " men-skorS " = woman. Helm-staff: 
"hjalm stofn" = head. Hlokk's ice: " Hlakkar i'ss" = 
sword. Hlokk, a Valkyrja. 

Page 193. Good wind of the troll-quean : "gdSr byr 
griftar " : " gri'^r " = troll-quean, her " byr " = wind = mind, 
heart (cf. Saga, lib. iii., pp. 179 and 201, i, and notes, 
PP- 393 an d 397) : good wind of the troll-quean = good, 
kindly heart. Blood-stare's feeder = warrior, cf. note to 
p. 107. Grim unto rings: "baugum grimmr"= free- 
handed in bestowals of golden gifts. The subject here 
referred to is King Harald Hard-redy. 

Page 20 1. 3. Half's gear: " Halfs gerSar" = armour. 

o *-* o o 

Half, a famous sea-king, cf. FaS. ii. 23-38. 

Page 208. Lord of Vors-folk Hord lord King of 
Thrandfolk : all expressions for " King of Norway," 
Magnus Barefoot. Hell of withies : " Hel kastar," lit. 
hell of the wood-pile = fire. 

Page 210. Murder-hawks' drink-giver: " morS-hauks 
brynnir" = he who gives the bird of slaughter, = raven, 
blood to drink. 

Page 2 1 1. Bale of timber : " vandar-b6l" = fire. 

Page 212. 2. Waster of the war-blink : " eySir hjaldr- 
bliks" = warrior, here Egill Aslakson. " Hjaldr-blik " 
= flash of fight = sword. 

Page 213. Bale of woodlands: "markar b6l" = fire, 
cf. 208, 2ii. War-hosts' Balder: " her-Baldr " = god of 
hosts = commander of armies. Troll's horse : " svaru 
j6r" = wolf, cf. Saga, lib. iii., p. 261, i, and note, p. 

Page 221. Wood-sorrow: " lim-sorg " = fire. 

Page 222. i. The lord wan fight-beam ruddy : " raesir 
vann r6g-geisla rauftan " : " rog-geisli " = flash of fight = 
sword, " vann" = made, i.e. ensem rubefacit, cruentavit. 

2. Storm goose : " hrrSar gagl " ; lit. brunt goose, bird 
of battle = raven. Grenland's lord = King Magnus ; 
Grenland, a province of Norway, pars pro toto. 

Page 223. 2. Waster of adder's bolster : " naftr-bings 

Explanations. 501 

topuSr " = a free-handed giver, waster of gold = Law- 
man, son of King Gudrod. Dele the "," after nesses, 
Thrands' lord and Agdir-folk's deft youngling = King 
Magnus Barefoot. Tongues of blade-rims : " vett-rima 
tungur " = swords. 

Page 224. i. Sword-grove: "laufa lundr " = warrior, 
King Magnus. 

2. Elm: "almr" = bow (of elm wood). String-hail: 
" strengs hagl " = drift of arrows shot from the bow- 

Page 230. i. Horse of whaleland : " hestr hval-jartSar" 
= ship. 

2. Heard I that flight thou dravest, or, more lite- 
rally, " you drove " : " fra ek at fl6tta rakut " seems 
to be intended to mean also : " Heard I that flight 
you drove not " : " raku-t = raku(-at." So also "As 
(better: where) you stood?" "far er staddir varut" 
seems obviously to be intended to mean even : where 
they stood not (were not standing) = " far er staddir 
varu-at ; " whereby the utterance : " High was the going 
= mighty was the ado, where, Gifford, you smote to hell 
the lads of Gautland there, where they were not standing 
(before you) " becomes painfully insulting. Both halves 
of the strophe seem evidently to be intended to be 
capable of a negative as well as a positive interpretation. 

Page 234, i. Blood-mew: "sveita mar" = raven. 
Doors of Hogni : " hurSir Hogna " = shields. Hogni, a 
war-king, cf. note to p. 40, I. 

2. Read : " Long day, the lads that tarries," i.e. it is a 
long day that delays men's desire. 

3. Gerd of gold-ring : "gullhrings GerSr " = Mathilda. 
Arm-lime, read: Arm-Lin : "arm-Lin": goddessofthe 
(beautiful) arms or hands = Mathilda. Lin = Hlfn, one of 
the goddesses, cf. S. E. I., 1 16 : " xii. Him, hon er sett til 
gaezlu yfirfeim monnum,erFriggvill forSaviShaska nokk- 
vorum ; fa^an af er fat orStak, at sa er forSast hleinir " : 
The twelfth is Hlin, she is set to watch over such folk as 
Frigg desires to save from some danger ; hence the say- 

502 The Saga Library. 

ing that he, who saves himself, leans (on others' help) 
cf. A.S. hlinian, to lean. Will not cast forth her speech 
on sea-wave : " mun eigi kasta (orSum) sfnum a glae " : a 
saying = will not talk vain things, will mean what she 
says. Row-bench of good-web : " guft-vetjar fopta" = 
woman, here Mathilda. 

Page 249. 2. Vimur's falcon : " valr Vimrar" = ship ; 
Vimur, the river that Thor had to wade through on his 
way to Geirrod's-garths, S. E. i. 286, hence, for the pur- 
pose of a kenning, river in general ; the falcon thereof, 
what glides along it = ship. Sun-hall: "s61ar-rann" = sky. 

Page 250. Roofs of Fiolnir : " Fjolnis hr6t" = shields; 

Page 251. i. The slinger of the Van's day: "slong- 
vir Vanar dags " = scatterer of gold, a bounteous lord, 
King Sigurd. Van, name of a river, hence river in 
general, its day = what glitters in it = gold. 

Page 254. 2. Troll-wife's by-way: "gagn-stigr gygjar," 
lit. the troll-wife's thorough-fare, mountain precipice. 
Thrott of clashing of Gondul's Thing : " Gondlar )>ings 
gny - j?r6ttr = J?r6ttr gnys pings Gondlar": Gondul, a 
Valkyrja, her Thing = armed meeting of war-hosts, the 
" gnyr," clashing thereof = weapon-roar, battle, the Thrott- 
*' brdttr " = Odin thereof = the leader, captain of hosts, here 
King Sigurd. 

3. Blue-swart wind-wolves : " bla-svarta byr-varga " 
= tarred boats. 

4. Marker of murder-wheels : " merkir morS-hj61s " = 
King Sigurd; U mor3" = murderous fight, its wheel = 
round shield, the marker thereof, a fighter. 

Page 255. Finn's tribute : " Finns gjold " cf. p. 136, I. 

Page 257. Wind-hall: " glygga-salr " = the vault of 
heaven, sky. Hater of flame of hawk-field : " leyg-hati 
haukafr6ns = hati leygs hauka-frons " : "haukr" = hawk, its 
"fr6n" = land, field, the hand whereon it sits when taken 
out fowling ; the hand's " leygr " = flame, golden bedeck- 
ment, gold, its " hati " = hater, i.e. scatterer, bestower, a 
bounteous man, here King Sigurd. 

Explanations. 503 

Page 258. I. Feeder of tyke of wounding : "brae'Sir 
benja ti'kr " : " ben " = bane- wound, the tyke thereof = 
wolf, its "br3e^ir" = quarry bestower (from "braS'^ 
quarry), a warrior, here King Sigurd. 

2. Lord of Dalefolk, ruler of the Dale-province of 
Norway, pars pro toto = lord of Norway = King Sigurd. 
The slaughter-slingers took then in Hrist's wreath 
hard a-riding : "Val-slongur t6ku hvasst rrSa ( Hristar 
hrrS": Hrist, a Valkyrja, her wreath = tempest wreath, 
brunt of battle, battle storm ; " val-slanga," a war engine, 
= catapult ; "rrSa" = to swing, fly against (opposing 
walls) ; sense : catapults began to fly hard amidst heavy 

Page 287. 2. Clay of the erne the ancient : " leir ara 
hins gamla" = bad poetry, doggerel. The explanation 
of this uncanny kenning is given in S. E. i. 222, cf. 
Lex. Poet. s. v. leir. Hood of Hogni : " hufa Hogna " = 

Page 302. Horn of whiting: " Horn hvitings " : Horn, 
one of the names that Freyja assumed when she went in 
search of her husband, Oftr, S. E. i. 114; hence, for the 
purpose of a kenning = goddess ; "hvftingr," name of a 
drinking horn, cf. Fms. iii. 189: "j?a voru borin inn tvo 
horn f hollina, j?au atti Ag^i jarl, gersemar miklar, ok 
voru kollut Hvftingar ; J?au voru tveggia alna ha ok gulli 
buin," i.e. then were borne in two horns into the hall, 
them owned Agdi, the earl, mickle things of prize, and 
were called Whitings ; they were two ells high, and with 
gold bedight. Hence Horn of whiting : the goddess of 
the drinking horn, the lady cup-bearer, here Thora, the 
mother of King Sigurd. 

Page 319. Grim tree, baneful of Sigar's foe : "grimmr 
grand-merSr Sigars fjanda " = gallows : Sigar, a king of 
Steig in Halogaland, let hang on a gallows Hagbard, a 
sea-king of fame, for an illicit love-affair with his 
daughter, the tale of which event gave the poets stuff 
for various kennings for gallows, of which this is one. 
" Sigars fjandi" = Hagbard, his "grimmr grand-merSr " = 

504 The Saga Library. 

gallows'-tree. Scatterer of wave-flame : " glotu^r 
hrannbals," lit. loser, dropper of gold = free-handed giver 

Page 323. Thole-stiers : "ha-skrau tar" = ships ; but 
a doubtful kenning. " Skrauti " is given in " mantissa " 
to J6n Olafsson's (Hypnonesensis = fra Svefneyjum) 
work, " Om Nordens gamle Digtekonst," as a name for a 
bull or an ox ; and " skrauta" for a cow, and " skrauti" 
for a bull or an ox, are well-known names in the farming 
language of Iceland to this day for piebald animals of 
the species, and may, of course, be old as well, though 
not on record. The " stier of the thole," " thole-pin," 
would be in itself a passable kenning for ship. What 
"bryns" which we, certainly not correctly, have rendered 
"surfs" may mean, is quite uncertain, as the text stands. 
Egilson construes : " brynns = brunns " ( = fontis, i.e. 
maris) " ha-skrauti," altus maris taurus. 

Page 334. 2. High's sark's reddener : " serk-roj'Sr 
Hars = rj6ftr Hars serks " = warrior, here King Harald 
Gilli. H ar = Odin, his sark = byrny. 

Page 350. 2. The italicized line gives probably the 
first sentence of a " klofastef," the fifth case in the poems 
of Heimskringla, but that is all of it that has come down 
to us. Cf. note to p. 71, 2. 

Page 351. Wound-ice (rods) : " sar-fss " = sword ; "fss " 
= icicle, pointed formation of ice. 

Page 369. Fight-tent : " folk-tjald " = shield. 

Page 372. Wave-mew: " vag-fylvingr " = ship, Lex. 
Poet, or is " fylvingr " here, not = " fylungr"= young sea- 
mew, but="fylvingr," a nut (S. E. ii. 430) floating on the 
ocean? Cf. filbert! 

Page 375. i. Wound-Sogn's mew-feeder: "sara- 
Sogns md-grennir = grennir mas sara-Sogns " : Sogn, a 
bay of western Norway, hence = sea, sara = wounds, sea 
= blood profusely shed ; the mew thereof = carrion bird, 
raven, its " grennir =greddir"=greed-awakener, a warrior, 
here King Eystein. Corpse-skua's feeder : " hrse-skiifs 
nistir": "skufr" the skua, lestris catarrhactes ; "hrae-skufr," 

Explanations. 505 

carrion skua = raven, its " nister," he who provides nest 
= victuals for it, a warrior, here Earl Maddad. 

2. Fight-icicles: " f61k-svell " = swords. Cf. note to 


3. Hot Rhine of the blade: "heit Rfn valbasta" = 
fresh flowing blood. Valbost, name for a part of a sword, 
uncertain which, the hot Rhine thereof = stream of fresh- 
shed blood. Huginn, one of Odin's wise ravens, hence 
raven in general, carrion bird. Wolf-wine = blood. 

Page 376. i. Hild's clouds: " Hildar sk^ " = shield ; 
Hildr, a Valkyrja, hence = fight in general. Cf. note to 
p. 46, i. Fir-shaw's dog : " fyri-sk6gar garmr " = devourer 
of woods, i.e. fire. Cf. p. 27, 2. 

2. String's rain : " strengjar regn " = hail of arrows shot 
from the bow-string. Cf. p. 224, 2. 

3. Pulwyke is a mere guess. The name occurs as a 
place-name on Lake Windermere, but whether Pflavfk is 
a northern rendering of such a name on the coast of York- 
shire is quite uncertain. 

Page 378. Sharp fires of wound flood : " snarpir eldar 
sar-fl&Ss " = swords. 

Page 414. i. Sea-steed : " mar-blakkr " : " mar "= sea, 
" blakkr"= steed = ship. Troll's steed: "gygjar Glaumr" 
= wolf. Glaumr, name of the horse of Atli, Budli's son, 
cf. AtlakvftJa, 29, N. F. 288 ; hence horse in general. 
Warm ale of wolf : " varmt 6'ldr vitnis " = wolfs drink, 
fresh-shed blood. The hawks of Hakon : " Hakonar 
haukar " = Hakon's warriors. Cf. Lex. Poet, sub haukr, 
4. Stems of steel-din : " dyn-vr5ir malma = vifcir malma 
dyns " = warriors. 



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